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Carey's balsamroot

Habit Perennials, 10–45(–100) cm (taproots slender or massive, thick- or thin-barked; caudices unbranched or multibranched). Plants (15–)20–60 cm.

erect, branched mostly from bases.


mostly basal; opposite or alternate; petiolate (bases persisting as fibrils);

blades (mostly pinnately nerved, sometimes 3- or 5-nerved) either rounded-deltate to triangular-deltate with bases sagittate or cordate to truncate and margins entire or crenate (B. subg. Artorhiza), or blades mostly elliptic, ovate, or lanceolate to lance-ovate or oblong and often 1–2-pinnatifid or -pinnately lobed with bases mostly truncate to cuneate and (if not lobed) margins usually crenate, dentate, or serrate, seldom entire (B. subg. Balsamorhiza), faces usually hirsute, hispid, pilose, puberulent, scabrous, sericeous, strigose, tomentose, or velutinous and gland-dotted or stipitate-glandular, seldom glabrous.

Basal leaves

blades green, rounded-deltate or deltate to triangular-deltate, 15–25 × 6–15 cm, bases cordate or hastate to truncate, margins usually entire, sometimes crenate (to dentate near bases), apices acute to attenuate, faces finely hispidulous to hirtellous (gland-dotted as well).


radiate, usually borne singly, rarely (2–3+) in ± corymbiform to racemiform arrays (peduncles ± scapiform, usually bearing 2+ leaves or bracts proximally or at mid length).

usually (2–)3+, sometimes borne singly.


mostly campanulate or turbinate to hemispheric, 11–30+ mm diam.

hemispheric to turbinate or campanulate, 12–20 mm diam.


flat to convex, paleate (paleae persistent, conduplicate, at least at bases, chartaceous).

Ray florets

5–21+, pistillate, fertile;

corollas usually yellow to orange, rarely becoming brick red (B. rosea).

Ray laminae

20–30(–40) mm (cypselae strigose or glabrous).

Disc florets

(15–)50–150+, bisexual, fertile;

corollas yellow to orange, tubes much shorter than cylindric throats, lobes 5, ± deltate (style branches stigmatic in 2 barely distinct lines, appendages filiform).


persistent, 8–20+ in 2–3+ series (subequal to unequal, outer equaling or surpassing inner).

Outer phyllaries

oblong to lanceolate or linear, 15–25 mm, usually surpassing inner, apices acute to attenuate.


obscurely prismatic, weakly 3–4-angled (faces usually glabrous, strigose in some B. careyana and in B. rosea);

pappi 0.


= 19.


= 38.


Balsamorhiza careyana

Phenology Flowering (Mar–)May–Jun(–Jul).
Habitat Dry scablands, semi-desert soils, openings in pine forests
Elevation 500–1000 m [1600–3300 ft]
from USDA
w North America
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Species 12 (12 in the flora).

Balsamorhiza ×bonseri H. St. John refers to a hybrid derivative involving B. sagittata and B. rosea. The plants have the habit of B. sagittata and the reddish ray corollas of B. rosea. The cypselae are hairy.

Balsamorhiza ×terebinthacea (Hooker) Nuttall and B. macrophylla var. terebinthacea (Hooker) A. Nelson refer to hybrids derived from B. hookeri × B. deltoidea.

In the key and descriptions here, “leaves” refers to basal leaves and “leaf blades” refers to blades of basal leaves, unless otherwise indicated.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Hybrids involving Balsamorhiza careyana and B. deltoidea occur near the Columbia River Gorge; intermediates are found to the east and south. In northern Oregon, plants in some populations have glabrous cypselae and some populations are mixed. The hairiness may come from B. rosea; B. rosea and B. careyana may hybridize profusely, producing mostly plants with the stature of B. careyana and with the relatively short, brick-red ray corollas of B. rosea. Hybridization also occurs, occasionally, between B. careyana and B. sagittata; B. careyana also hybridizes with any species of sect. Balsamorhiza with which it comes in contact. Plants called Balsamorhiza careyana var. intermedia usually have crenate leaf margins and glabrous cypselae.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Leaves (petioles mostly longer than blades): blades rounded-deltate or deltate to triangular-deltate, bases sagittate or cordate to truncate, margins usually entire, sometimes crenate to dentate (subg. Artorhiza)
→ 2
1. Leaves (petioles mostly shorter than blades): blades mostly lanceolate, lance-elliptic, lance-ovate, linear-oblong, oblong, or ovate, often 1–2-pinnatifid or -pinnately lobed, bases usually truncate to cuneate, sometimes cordate, ultimate margins usually crenate, dentate, or serrate, seldom entire (subg. Balsamorhiza)
→ 4
2. Heads usually borne singly, sometimes 2–3+; leaves ± silvery to white, faces (at least the abaxial) sericeous, tomentose, tomentulose, or velutinous
B. sagittata
2. Heads 2–3+ or borne singly; leaves green, faces glabrous or finely hispidulous to hirtellous
→ 3
3. Heads usually (2–)3+, sometimes borne singly; leaf margins usually entire, sometimes crenate (to dentate near bases), faces usually finely hispidulous to hirtellous (cypselae strigose or glabrous)
B. careyana
3. Heads usually borne singly, sometimes 2+; leaf margins usually crenate to dentate (at least near bases), sometimes entire, faces usually sparsely hirtellous to hispidulous, sometimes glabrous (usually gland-dotted, sometimes vernicose; cypselae glabrous)
B. deltoidea
4. Leaf blades sometimes pinnately lobed (ultimate margins usually crenate-serrate, dentate, or serrate)
→ 5
4. Leaf blades usually 1–2-pinnatifid
→ 6
5. Leaf blades (earliest sometimes, later seldom, pinnately lobed): margins usually dentate to serrate, faces hirsutulous to scabrous (ray corollas yellow, not becoming red or chartaceous; cypselae glabrous)
B. serrata
5. Leaf blades (rarely pinnately lobed): margins crenate-serrate, faces finely strigose to moderately scabrous (ray corollas yellow at anthesis, becoming red, drying pinkand chartaceous; cypselae strigose)
B. rosea
6. Leaves grayish, silvery, or white, faces lanate-tomentose, sericeous, tomentose, or villous
→ 7
6. Leaves bright green to gray-green, faces glabrous or hirsute, hirtellous, hispid, hispidulous, pilose, piloso-hirtellous, scabrous, sericeous, strigillose, strigose, subvelutinous, or tomentose (sometimes gland-dotted as well)
→ 9
7. Leaves: faces densely sericeous; n California, s Oregon
B. sericea
7. Leaves: faces lanate-tomentose, tomentose, or villous; n California, Oregon, Washington
→ 8
8. Leaf blades ovate to lanceolate, 10–45 × 3–7(–10) cm (1-pinnatifid, lobes ovate to lanceolate, 20–50 × 5–25 mm), margins plane; Oregon, Washington
B. incana
8. Leaf blades lanceolate to linear-oblong, 10–20 × 3–6(–8) cm (1–2-pinnatifid, primary lobes lance-linear to oblong, 5–40 × 1–10 mm, margins revo-lute); n California
B. lanata
9. Leaf blades 30–60 cm, 1-pinnatifid or nearly so; outer phyllaries usually much surpassing inner
→ 10
9. Leaf blades 6–40 cm, usually 1–2-pinnatifid; outer phyllaries seldom surpassing inner
→ 11
10. Leaves: faces strigillose to subvelutinous or tomentose (margins not cili-ate); ray laminae 20–30+ mm
B. macrolepis
10. Leaves: faces scabrous or piloso-hirtellous to pilose (at least adaxial, mar- gins ciliate); ray laminae 35–50+ mm
B. macrophylla
11. Leaf blades bright green, lance-elliptic to lanceolate, (6–)15–25(–40) × (3–)5–9+ cm (primary lobes lanceolate to oblanceolate, 10–45 × 2–15 mm),faces hispidulous to hirtellous
B. hispidula
11. Leaf blades usually gray-green, narrowly to broadly lanceolate or ovate, (8–)20–30(–40) × 2–15 cm (primary lobes oblong or lanceolate to linear, 5–100 × 0.5–15 mm), faces hirsute, sericeous, or strigose
B. hookeri
Source FNA vol. 21, p. 93. FNA vol. 21, p. 95.
Parent taxa Asteraceae > tribe Heliantheae > subtribe Ecliptinae Asteraceae > tribe Heliantheae > subtribe Ecliptinae > Balsamorhiza > subg. Artorhiza
Sibling taxa
B. deltoidea, B. hispidula, B. hookeri, B. incana, B. lanata, B. macrolepis, B. macrophylla, B. rosea, B. sagittata, B. sericea, B. serrata
Subordinate taxa
B. careyana, B. deltoidea, B. hispidula, B. hookeri, B. incana, B. lanata, B. macrolepis, B. macrophylla, B. rosea, B. sagittata, B. sericea, B. serrata
Synonyms B. careyana var. intermedia
Name authority Hooker ex Nuttall: Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc., n. s. 7: 349. (1840) A. Gray: Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 81. (1849)
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