Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Balsamorhiza careyana
Carey's balsamroot

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; southern British Columbia to central Oregon.

Habitat: Open places, but not on lithosol, in the plains, foothills, and lower mountains.

Flowers: March-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees, flies, butterflies, beetles, wasps


Perennial from a woody, deep-seated taproot, with the numerous basal leaves and stems 2-10 dm. long forming a bushy plant.


Basal leaves with long petioles, the blade mostly triangular-hastate, up to 30 cm. long and 15 cm. wide, green, firm, veiny, entire and often scabrous; stem leaves few, narrow and strongly reduced.


Heads several, small, the disk rarely more than 2.5 cm. wide; involucre only slightly woolly, the outer bracts seldom much enlarged; rays 8 or 13, 2-4 cm. long, persistent on the achenes.


Achenes hairy

Identification Notes:

The several small heads help separate B. careyana from B. sagitatta; also, the leaves on B. careyana feel like sandpaper, while the leaves on B. sagitata are soft and silky. However, the two species hybridize, and numerous intermediate forms are found.

Accepted Name:
Balsamorhiza careyana A. Gray
Publication: Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 81. 1849.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Balsamorhiza careyana A. Gray var. careyana [HC]
Balsamorhiza careyana A. Gray var. intermedia Cronquist [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Balsamorhiza careyana in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Balsamorhiza careyana checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Balsamorhiza careyana information.

E-Flora BC: Balsamorhiza careyana atlas page.

CalPhotos: Balsamorhiza careyana photos.

USDA Plants: Balsamorhiza careyana information.

78 photographs:
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