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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Hoary Balsamroot - Balsamorhiza incana

Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 4

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Numerous collections at MONTU from Teton, Madison, Granite, Gallatin, BigHorn, Carbon, Powell and Lewis & Clark counties. Many of the collections are recent. This species may be eventually displaced by nonnative invasives. Should be watched over time.
General Description
Stems ascending, 15–50 cm. Herbage tomentose. Basal leaf blades lanceolate, 5–25 cm long, pinnately divided into numerous entire to shallowly lobed, lanceolate to ovate segments. Involucre hemispheric, 12–25 mm high; phyllaries lanceolate, tomentose, outer shorter than the inner. Ray ligules 25–35 mm long. Disk corollas 6–9 mm long, lobes hairy to glandular (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Not likely to be confused with any other species in Montana, except perhaps Balsamorhiza hookeri, which differs in having pinnately lobed leaves, and harsh and short pubescence, rather than the soft, tangled hairs of B. incana.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
WA, MT, OR, ID and WY (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 81

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Grows in a variety of steppe habitats, mostly with sagebrush and bunchgrasses.

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus appositus, Bombus centralis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus nevadensis, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus occidentalis, and Bombus griseocollis (Thorp et al. 1983, Mayer et al. 2000, Koch et al. 2012).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Mayer, D.F., E.R. Miliczky, B.F. Finnigan, and C.A. Johnson. 2000. The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of southeastern Washington. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 97: 25-31.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Hoary Balsamroot — Balsamorhiza incana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from