Herbs & Plants

Balsamorhiza incana

Botanicalk Name: Balsamorhiza incana
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Balsamorhiza
Species: B. incana

Balsamorhiza hookeri var. incana (Nutt.) A.Gray

Common Name: Hoary Balsamroot

Habitat : Balsamorhiza incana is native to North-western N. America. It grows on the meadows and other moderately moist to moderately dry open places.

Balsamorhiza incana is a herbaceous, perennial plant growing from a woody taproot to a height of 0.9 m (3ft). The leaves are mainly basal, usually 10 – 45cm long with flowering stems 20 – 35cm tall. It is in flower in July.It has yellow flower heads, usually borne one at a time, with both ray florets and disc florets. It grows in grassy and rocky sites, often in conifer forests. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental.


Requires a deep fertile well-drained loam in full sun. Plants strongly resent winter wet. Hardy to at least -25°c. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and should be planted into their permanent positions whilst still small..

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 6 days at 18°c. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring. Very difficult since the plant strongly resents root disturbance. It is probably best to take quite small divisions, or basal cuttings, without disturbing the main clump. Pot these up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer if they have grown sufficiently, otherwise over-winter them in the greenhouse and plant out in late spring.

Edible Uses: Root is eaten raw or cooked. The thick root can be eaten raw. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder and made into a bread.

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the leaves, roots and stems has been used in the treatment of stomach pains and colds and as a steam bath for treating headaches.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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