Ryan Jordan

Arrowleaf Balsamroot: Rocky Mountain Tough Guy (Leica M9)


Tough Guy of the Rockies: Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Leica M9, Zeiss 35/2.8C

The Arrowleaf Balsamroot is the first wildflower that shows itself on drier and rockier slopes in the Northern Rockies. It starts to appear in May and really gets going in June.

I think it’s the toughest flower in the West. Here’s a photo of a posse that dealt with their fair share of Stuff by the time July rolled around.

The flower above is being crowded by thorny things and has already seen its fair share of hail and frost. I know because those veins in its big leaves tell these kinds of stories.

This is another exceptionally edible plant, with a caveat.

Any part of it that you see is nasty and sappy and tastes bitter, like pine-sol, but it won’t make you sick at least.

The rest of the parts you can’t see – the fleshy roots – are nutritious and tasty, and are quite good when sliced thin and fried in olive oil and black pepper over a Bushbuddy stove.