Autecology, ethnobotany and agronomy of Balsamorhiza sagitta: Northwestern Plateau, British Columbia




Chambers, Kimberlee

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This research examines an edible and medicinal plant species, Balsamorhiza sagittata Pursh (Nutt) (balsamroot, or spring sunflower). Included are: 1) a study of literature concerning previous uses and potential agronomic applications of B. sagittata; 2) an ecological study to assess the general habitat requirements of B. sagittata at three populations in the Northwestern Plateau of British Columbia; and 3) an agronomic study of B. sagittata, the main purpose of which is to explore the development of the species in a cropping system or as a horticulture plant. Ethnobotanical literature confirms that B. sagittata has a long tradition as a highly significant food and medicinal resource on the Northern plateau. A review of botanical and range literature indicates that the species is an ecologically important forb in sagebrush ecosystems. Ecological data collectci:l was significantly different between the field sites. The only variable that was statistically similar at the Pavilion Mountain, Hat Creek Valley and Botanie Valley research locations was the number of blooms on the B. sagittata plants. Furthermore the data did not indicate significant correlations to explain variation in the number of B. sagittata plants between sample plots. Preliminary agronomic experiments indicate that B. sagittata can be propagated by seed, both in a greenhouse and at a field location. Treating seeds with ethylene before stratification significantly increased seed germination.



edible plants, Arrowleaf balsamroot, medicinal plants, agronomic experiments, ethnobotany