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Balsamorhiza sagittata “Arrowleaf Balsamroot” Asteraceae

Tobacco Root Mountains, MT
June 3, 2016
Robert Niese

I recently acquired a new phone with a decent camera! This was especially fortuitous last week when I managed to accidentally stumble upon this huge late bloom of balsamroot without my DSLR handy. These hillsides were still completely blanketed in blooming B. sagittata, while Missoula’s hillsides have all faded in the past few weeks. And for the record, this phone camera has more megapixels than my first DSLR… Weird.

Balsamorhiza sagittata “Arrowleaf Balsamroot” Asteraceae

Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor (BLM), MT
April 23, 2015
Robert Niese

Arrowleaf Balsamroot was first collected by Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) when he was exploring the northern Rockies in 1806. These particular specimens appear to have been munched by some deer (notice that the left side is missing some flowers).

Balsamorhiza sagittata “Arrowleaf Balsamroot” Asteraceae

Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor (BLM), MT
April 23, 2015
Robert Niese

Balsamroot is one of the most characteristic plants of eastern PNW habitats. While the coastal Northwest’s lush rainforests are truly a sight to behold, nothing is quite as striking as springtime hillsides covered with Balsamroot and Lupine while dramatic, snow-capped peaks loom in the background. Fun fact: Arrowleaf Balsamroot was first collected by Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) when he was exploring the northern Rockies in 1806.

Halictus (Seladonia) tripartitus “Sweat Bee” Halictidae
on Balsamorhiza sagittata “Arrowleaf Balsamroot” Asteraceae

Missoula, MT
May 13, 2014
Robert Niese

Another species of small Sweat Bee in the genus Halictus. If you’re interested in attempting to identify these bees with a dichotomous key (there are only 10 species in the Northwest, so it’s not too difficult!), check this one out here. Once you learn more about these little guys, you start noticing them everywhere!