Balsamorhiza deltoidea

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Balsamorhiza deltoidea
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Common Names: deltoid balsamroot, Puget balsamroot
  • Codon: BALDEL

Photo by Rod Gilbert, 2005. Also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteranae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Balsamorhiza Nutt.
Species: Balsamorhiza deltoidea Nutt.



Perennial herb growing from a large, resinous taproot.[2] Basal leaves large, to 50 cm, long-petiolate, triangular, stiff-haired.[3] Cauline leaves few, reduced, linear.[3] Pseudanthia terminal, radiate, with bright yellow ray florets and darker disk florets[4] which are both fertile.[5] Phyllaries lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, slightly woolly.[3] Ovaries inferior, becoming glabrous achenes.[2]

Bloom Period

March - July[2]


The Straight of Georgia, Pacific Coast states west of the Cascades, south to California.[3]


Shorelines, prairies, meadows, shrub steppe and other open areas of the Puget Trough. Prefers deep soils[3] and areas that are regularly burned.[6]


Use by many First Nations including the Karok, Kawaiisu, Atsugewi and Klamath for food and medicine. Fresh peduncles and ground and often roasted seeds eaten. Decoction of root used for treatment of lung ailments.[7]


Fruit and Seed Collection Shake into bag and do not crush. If the whole stem must be collected, leave several inches of stem and place head down in bag (for small lots of seed collection).[3]

Fruit and Seed Extraction Use the Clipper seed cleaning machine with a medium amount of air flow, through either screen size combinations: 14RD and 6RD, 9RD and 6RD. Discard chaff from port #2 and drawer 3, 4, and 5. Recover the course chaff with seed that did not fall through the top screen (either 14RD or 9RD). Save the very clean seed from main drawer. Take the course chaff/seed and seed that dropped into main tray and re-run through the Clipper once or twice to ensure cleanest seed.[3]


[[Image:]] Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 7.5 x 2.5 x 1.9

Measurement Range: L: 6.5 – 8.2, W: 1.6 – 4.5, D: 1.6 – 2


Shape: Seed shapes have lots of variation. Some squared off, and some three sided. Most seeds narrower at hilum than at opposite apex, but not always. Hilum wrinkled. Seeds have circular, white protrusion at apex opposite hilum.

Color: Seeds black, brown, or tan, with white or tan hilum.

Surface: Seeds have some longitudinal ribbing, and are smooth and matte.

Latitudinal Cross Section: some squared [[Image:]], some triangular [[Image:]]

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical [[Image:]]

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

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  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Goodrich, A. (2012). Guidelines of Establishment of Seed Production Sites on Military Installations. Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program. Retrieved from
  4. Bowcutt, F., & Hamman, S. (2016). Vascular Plants of the South Sound Prairies. p. 71.
  5. Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 549.
  6. Native Plants of North America. Retrieved from
  7. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from