|© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary's College||Charles Webber
© 1998 California Academy of Sciences
Dealy  delineates an arrowleaf balsamroot phase to a curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)/mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus) habitat type in eastern Oregon. Hoffman and Alexander  describe an arrowleaf balsamroot phase to a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)/common snowberry (S. albus) habitat type in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota and Wyoming.
An arrowleaf balsamroot-oneflower helianthella (Helianthella uniflora) subalpine forb community type is described by Gregory  in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
In western Oregon Johnson and Simon  discuss an Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis)-bluebunch wheatgrass/ arrowleaf balsamroot plant association in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Also in Oregon, Hopkins and Kovalchik  describe 2 plant associations on the Crooked River National Grasslands of Ochoco National Forest. Both are on steep canyon walls
West and others  use arrowleaf balsamroot to delineate a singleleaf pinyon (P. monophylla)/curlleaf mountain-mahogany/arrowleaf balsamroot subassociation in the pinyon (Pinus spp.)-juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands of Utah and Nevada. Also in Nevada, there is a singleleaf pinyon/curlleaf mountain-mahogany/longflower snowberry (S. longiflorus)/arrowleaf balsamroot community and a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)/Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda)/arrowleaf balsamroot community in the Coils Creek watershed .
Weaver  lists arrowleaf balsamroot as a dominant species in the fescue (Festuca) consociation and a secondary plant in the Agropyron consociation of the Agropyron- Festuca plant association in southeastern Washington and adjacent Idaho.
Arrowleaf balsamroot is commonly associated with various sagebrush taxa including basin big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. tridentata), mountain big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. vaseyana), mountain silver sagebrush (A. cana ssp. viscidual), and threetip sagebrush (A. tripartita) . Its occurrence in the big sagebrush habitats is dependent on annual precipitation (see Site Characteristics). Strong and others  list arrowleaf balsamroot as occurring in Wyoming big sagebrush (A.t. ssp wyomingensis)/bluebunch wheatgrass habitat type in Colorado.
In native stands of the northern Intermountain Region and the Pacific Northwest arrowleaf balsamroot is commonly associated with Idaho fescue, bluebunch wheatgrass, western (J. occidentalis) and Utah (J. osteosperma) junipers, ponderosa pine and the mountain shrub complex.
Arrowleaf balsamroot has a taproot that sometimes reaches a diameter
of 4 inches (10 cm) and an extreme depth of 8.8 feet (2.7 m). Laterals seldom
come off in the 1st 6 inches (15 cm) of soil. Below this depth numerous strong
laterals occur, sometimes an inch (2.5 cm) or more in diameter. These laterals
often run horizontally for 2 to 3 feet (0.6-1 m) before turning downward and may
reach a depth of 5 feet (1.5 m). The taproot sometimes splits into nearly equal
parts at a depth of about 3 feet (1 m). The tip of the taproot is often dead and
if alive, is not very branched. The older part of the root is covered with a
deeply furrowed bark. These furrows can be one-half inch (13 mm) deep .
RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
Breeding system: No information
Pollination: No information
Seed production: The seed crop is usually good  and large quantities of seed can be produced if developing seedheads are not attacked by insects and are protected from grazing .
Seed dispersal: Arrowleaf balsamroot seeds are dispersed by wind  and animals .
Seed banking: Arrowleaf balsamroot seeds are not stored in the soil . A 1996 study by Kitchen and Monsen , using arrowleaf balsamroot seeds collected in Idaho and Utah, found no evidence that arrowleaf balsamroot maintains a persistent seedbank.
Germination: Several studies have examined germination of arrowleaf balsamroot. Young and Evans  found germination without stratification was very low and erratic. A 12-week period of stratification was required for maximum germination. They chose 8 weeks at 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5o C) as the pretreatment used for development of temperatures for a profile for arrowleaf balsamroot germination. Germination after this stratification period was only 50% of that obtained after 12 weeks of stratification, but was chosen because some seeds germinated during stratification. Optimum temperatures for germination were essentially optimum temperatures for stratification.
Kitchen and Monsen  also conducted germination experiments on arrowleaf balsamroot and found for the few seeds that germinated without prechilling, germination was delayed for 21 to 28 days after imbibition and germinants "frequently" exhibited abnormal growth. They found no significant differences among germination percentages for nonstratified seeds. In contrast, 11 temperature regimes were optima for germination of stratified seeds. Warmest of these regimes was a constant 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10o C) and coldest was 32/41 degrees Fahrenheit (0/5o C). A temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35o C) reduced germination and a warm-period temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40o C) prevented germination .
The 3-month stratification requirement of arrowleaf balsamroot is long for many rangeland seedbeds. The only environment on sagebrush rangelands that might have a satisfactory stratification of arrowleaf balsamroot seeds is at the snow-litter-soil interface in sites with continuous snow cover for at least 3 months. This may explain the occurrence of dense communities of arrowleaf balsamroot on north-facing slopes where snowdrifts accumulate .
Stevens and others  tested germination of arrowleaf balsamroot seeds after storage in an open, unheated, and uncooled warehouse in Utah. While arrowleaf balsamroot does not persist in the soil seedbank [46,94], it apparently can be stored for up to 10 years and still be viable. Their results are:
Years of storage
|Paradise Valley, NV||40||42||--||37||20||1||0|
Arrowleaf balsamroot has relatively large seeds, 1,850 to 3,000 per ounce (65-105/gram) . The Davenport Seed Company  states there are 58,000 seeds per pound (127,600/kg).
Steele and Geier-Hayes , in a summary of successional studies of the major Douglas-fir habitat types in central Idaho, state arrowleaf balsamroot seeds germinate on bare soil in full sun.
Seedling establishment/growth: Kitchen and Monsen  found arrowleaf balsamroot seedlings in an experiment in Idaho and Utah grew slowly with low mortality. Wasser  found seedling vigor to be "rather weak" and that stands developed slowly.
Generally, new plants are slow to mature, requiring 3 to 4 years to flower on the best sites, and 7 to 8 years on lower precipitation sites .
Arrowleaf balsamroot is adapted to plains, valleys, foothills, and low mountain ranges. It occurs on open slopes and ridges throughout the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), oak (Quercus spp.) brush, ponderosa pine, and higher habitat types. It is found on well-drained soils in open, fairly dry situations, including south-facing slopes .
Precipitation: Arrowleaf balsamroot commonly occurs in various sagebrush habitats (see Habitat Types And Plant Communities). The following table shows precipitation ranges required for arrowleaf balsamroot to occur in big sagebrush habitats :
|Basin big sagebrush annual precipitation||Mountain big sagebrush annual precipitation|
|9 to 13 inches||13+ inches||12 to 17 inches||17+ inches|
However, Stanton  states arrowleaf balsamroot is often important on harsh sagebrush sites in Idaho that receive at least 9 inches (225 mm) precipitation, and Stevens  states arrowleaf balsamroot is adapted to basin big sagebrush sites in the 9-to 13-inch (225-330 mm) precipitation range in the Intermountain Range.
Arrowleaf balsamroot is strongly drought tolerant .
Soils: Arrowleaf balsamroot thrives in well-drained silty and loamy soils of the Palouse prairies and adjacent sagebrush-grass and open juniper and ponderosa pine zones of the northern Intermountain region. It is tolerant of moderately alkaline to weakly acidic and also weakly saline soils. It is intolerant of shallow water tables but is tolerant of briefly saturated soil conditions on imperfectly drained sites .
Arrowleaf balsamroot occurs naturally between about 1,000
to 9,000 feet (305-2,743 m) . Some elevations for individual states are:
Colorado 6,000 to 9,000 feet (1,829-2,743 m) 
Montana 3,500 to 7,000 feet (1,067-2,134 m) 
California 4,593 to 5,249 feet (1,400-1,600 m) 
Climax: Arrowleaf balsamroot is listed as part of the vegetation in a climax interior ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) community on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains, Blue Mountains and Northern Rocky Mountains . An edaphic climax type in Colorado of Wyoming big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass includes arrowleaf balsamroot .
Mid-seral: In a study of grasslands of lower British Columbia, Tisdale  describes arrowleaf balsamroot as "found more commonly" in the mid-seral stage of needlegrass (Stipa spp.)-bluegrass as grasslands previously heavily grazed progressed to the climax stage of bluebunch wheatgrass-rough fescue (F. altaica).
Steele and Geier-Hayes  list arrowleaf balsamroot as an "important" species in the herb layer of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) habitat types in Idaho. The following table gives arrowleaf balsamroot's successional role in these habitat type-phases in Idaho:
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat type-phase||Successional role|
|West-central Idaho||elk sedge-(Carex geyeri) ponderosa pine||MS|
|pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens)-ponderosa pine||ms|
grape (Mahonia repens)
|white spirea (Spiraea betulifolia) - ponderosa pine||MS|
|common snowberry- ponderosa pine||(MS)|
|ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus)- ponderosa pine||(MS)|
|Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum)-Rocky Mountain maple||MS|
|East-central Idaho||elk sedge-elk sedge||ms|
|common snowberry- common snowberry||(ms)|
|Rocky Mountain maple- mountain snowberry||ms|
Koniak  studied succession after fire in pinyon-juniper stands in the Great Basin. She found arrowleaf balsamroot present in various seral stages. Numbers in the following table represent percent of sites where arrowleaf balsamroot occurred (total number of stands measured not given):
Occurrence in various successional states
|early||early mid-stage||mid-stage||late mid-stage||late|
Early seral: Weaver , in an early (1914) study of plant succession
in eastern Washington and adjacent Idaho, lists arrowleaf balsamroot as an
"invader" in the transition from the bunchgrass-rimrock vegetation type to
"prairie" vegetation at the top of canyons. For more information on early seral
response of arrowleaf balsamroot see
Plant Response To Fire.
Arrowleaf balsamroot begins growth and flowers early, but dates can vary.
Schmidt and Lotan  provide phenological data for arrowleaf balsamroot in the Northern Rocky Mountains based on unpublished studies. This table presents the phenology of arrowleaf balsamroot based on observations from 1928 to 1937:
East of the Continental Divide in Montana and Yellowstone National Park
|first appearance||leaves full grown||flowers start||flowers end||fruits ripe||seed fall starts||leaves start to color/wither||leaves withered||first frost injury|
|average date||26 April||4 June||18 May||16 June||7 July||15 July||17 July||9 August||3 Sept.|
|earliest date||3 April||15 May||27 April||15 May||13 June||19 June||20 June||25 July||1 Sept.|
|latest date||13 May||2 July||18 June||2 August||2 August||7 August||13 August||16 Sept.||4 Sept.|
|standard error (days)||3||3||3||4||4||5||4||3||2|
|number of observations||16||16||18||18||15||10||17||56||2|
Northern Idaho and west of the Continental Divide in Montana
|average date||20 April||16 May||10 May||12 June||14 July||20 July||17 August||20 Sept.||1 Sept.|
|earliest date||8 April||2 May||2 May||1 June||15 June||10 July||1 August||16 August||5 August|
|latest date||2 May||1 June||16 May||20 June||16 July||1 August||25 August||5 October||21 Sept.|
|standard error (days)||2||3||1||2||3||4||3||5||8|
|number of observations||10||10||10||10||10||7||10||10||7|
In a 6-year clipping study of arrowleaf balsamroot conducted at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station near Dubois, Idaho, Blaisdell and Pechanec  reported the following phenological data:
|snow off||1 April|
|growth started||20 April|
|flower stalks appear||27 April|
|1st bloom||13 May|
|full bloom||28 may|
|blooming over||8 June|
|seed ripe||18 June|
|plant drying||21 June|
|plant dried||2 August|
Smith and Fischer's literature review  describes the fire survival "strategy" of arrowleaf balsamroot as regrowth from a surviving thick caudex and state it will survive even the most severe fire and increase in frequency and density after fire.
In a 1984 fire management action plan for Zion National Park in Utah, Mitchell  describes arrowleaf balsamroot fire survival strategy as "sprouting from a thick caudex."
Fire regimes: Smith and Fischer  place arrowleaf balsamroot within a fire group in northern Idaho that consists of warm, dry Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine habitat types. Before the 20th century, these sites were characterized by frequent underburns that eliminated most tree regeneration, thinned young stands, and perpetuated open stands dominated mainly by ponderosa pine. Studies in the South Fork Clearwater River report fire return intervals for stands in this fire group ranging from 3 to 39 years with a mean fire interval of 15 years . In the River of No Return Area of Idaho, Barrett  provides the following information on fire regimes for stands in this fire group:
|Location||Fire interval range (years)||Mean fire interval (years)||Standard deviation|
|high elevation, 6,000 feet||8-51||22||4|
|low elevation, < 5,000 feet||3-30||15||2|
|Salmon River corridor||2-39||14||12|
In eastern Idaho and western Wyoming, arrowleaf balsamroot is assigned to fire groups consisting of limber Pine (P. flexilis) habitat types, and habitat types supporting cool, dry Douglas-fir forests . Arno and Gruell  reported a mean fire interval of 74 years for a southwestern Montana limber pine/bluebunch wheatgrass habitat type at a grassland ecotone. Keown  reported a fire-free interval of about 100 years for a similar Montana limber pine stand with a grass and shrub understory. Cool, dry Douglas-fir forests in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, probably experienced fires about every 50 to 100 years . Douglas-fir adjacent to sagebrush steppe vegetation in both Jackson Hole and the valleys of northern Yellowstone National Park appear to have shorter fire-free intervals . Houston  reported intervals of 20 to 25 years in cool, dry Douglas-fir in the Lamar, Gardner, and Yellowstone valleys over the past 300 to 400 years.
In Utah, Bradley and others  assign arrowleaf balsamroot to the fire group containing pinyon-juniper woodlands and montane maple-oak woodlands. On 4 study sites in southwestern Idaho, Burkhardt and Tisdale  found fire-free intervals to be 23, 18, 8 and 11 years. McKell  states composition of burned oak stands in Utah was found to resemble unburned stands within 20 years following fire.
Fire regimes where arrowleaf balsamroot is an important member of the community are summarized below.
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|sagebrush steppe||Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata||20-70 |
|basin big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata||12-43 |
|mountain big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana||15-40 [3,17,68]|
|Wyoming big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis||10-70 (40**) [110,128]|
|plains grasslands||Bouteloua spp.||< 35|
|blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass||Bouteloua gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii||< 35|
|cheatgrass||Bromus tectorum||< 10 |
|curlleaf mountain-mahogany*||Cercocarpus ledifolius||13-1000 [5,88]|
|mountain-mahogany-Gambel oak scrub||Cercocarpus ledifolius-Quercus gambelii||< 35 to < 100|
|blackbrush||Coleogyne ramosissima||< 35 to < 100|
|western juniper||Juniperus occidentalis||20-70|
|Rocky Mountain juniper||Juniperus scopulorum||< 35|
|western larch||Larix occidentalis||25-100 |
|wheatgrass plains grasslands||Pascopyrum smithii||< 35 |
|Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir||Picea engelmannii-Abies lasiocarpa||35 to > 200|
|blue spruce*||Picea pungens||35-200 |
|pinyon-juniper||Pinus-Juniperus spp.||< 35 |
|Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine*||Pinus contorta var. latifolia||25-300+ [1,2,84]|
|Colorado pinyon||Pinus edulis||10-400+ [27,29,43,73]|
|Jeffrey pine||Pinus jeffreyi||5-30|
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [2,6,57]|
|quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains)||Populus tremuloides||7-120 [2,32,66]|
|mountain grasslands||Pseudoroegneria spicata||3-40 (10**) [1,2]|
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca||25-100 [2,3,4]|
|elm-ash-cottonwood||Ulmus-Fraxinus-Populus spp.||< 35 to 200 [23,112]|
In a prescribed burn near Elko, Nevada, in August of 1980, a single arrowleaf
balsamroot plant was tagged prior to burning. It was killed by the
fire. Surface temperatures at the plant reached 1200 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit
(649-816 oC). Soil temperatures reached peaks of 250 and 175 degrees
Fahrenheit (121 and 79 oC) at 0.4 and 0.8 inches (1 and 2 cm) below
the surface respectively. The authors felt
this severe fire was the result of the burnout of adjacent woody sagebrush fuels .
PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Arrowleaf balsamroot sprouts from a caudex and does not spread by rootstocks. Any increase in number of plants must await seed production, so arrowleaf balsamroot increases slowly after burning . In a 1978 study, Wright  lists arrowleaf balsamroot as a member of the forb community in climax ponderosa pine community and states these forbs would harmed by fire for no more than a year.
The Fire Management Plan for Craters of the Moon National Monument describes arrowleaf balsamroot's reproduction after fire as "infrequent" but states biomass production is enhanced. This increased biomass will remain high until grasses or shrubs dominate the site .
Bunting  assigns the following responses of arrowleaf balsamroot to varying fire intervals relative to current conditions in western juniper communities in the Owyee Mountains of southwestern Idaho:
Average fire recurrence in years
|increase in abundance||increase in abundance||no change in abundance||decrease in abundance|
|Time after burning||1 month||1 year||2 years||3 years||4 years|
Kuntz  cataloged initial plant response to spring burning in a mountain big sagebrush/Idaho fescue habitat type in the Salmon National Forest in Idaho. For a "cool" intensity burn (characterized by incomplete removal of mountain big sagebrush), cover of arrowleaf balsamroot increased for the 1st two postburn years and returned to preburn levels the 3rd postburn year. For a "hot" intensity burn (characterized by complete removal of mountain big sagebrush), cover of arrowleaf balsamroot increased for 3 postburn years.
In south-central Oregon, Powell  assigns a rating of "high" to arrowleaf balsamroot's postfire response. This means a population of arrowleaf balsamroot will regain its preburn frequency or cover in 5 years or less. He states plant densities are often greater than preburn densities by the 2nd growing season after burning. After trees re-establish and shading increases, arrowleaf balsamroot populations can be expected to decline dramatically.
Merrill and others  compared burned and unburned plots after a 1973 wildfire on White Cap Creek in northern Idaho. The site was a xeric ponderosa pine stand and adjacent montane grassland. They found arrowleaf balsamroot production was consistently higher each year for 3 years after the burn, reaching a peak in postfire year 2. Differences, however, were never great enough to be significant. Yields of arrowleaf balsamroot for 4 years postburn averaged 33 g/m2 on burned plots and 21 g/m2 on unburned plots
Mean percent canopy coverage and frequency of arrowleaf balsamroot in 20 microplots on 7 burned and 7 unburned plots in 1974 (1st postburn growing season) and 1976 were:
Heights of arrowleaf balsamroot on 7 burned plots averaged 114 to 122 % on unburned plots.
The authors measured mean concentration of 9 minerals in arrowleaf balsamroot from burned and unburned sites for 3 postfire years. Their findings for burned sites relative to unburned sites for 3 postfire years are presented below. The symbol "+" indicates the concentration is more than unburned vegetation, while the symbol "-"indicates a lesser concentration. The only significant difference between burned and unburned vegetation was in 1974 for manganese.
On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, arrowleaf balsamroot cover and frequency were higher on sites that had been thinned and burned under prescription than on control sites or sites that were only thinned or burned. Arrowleaf balsamroot was determined to be an indicator species for thinned sites (P≤0.05). Posttreatment measures were taken 6 years after thinning and 4 years after prescribed burning. For further information on the effect of thinning and prescribed burn treatments to arrowleaf balsamroot and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood and others'  study.
For further information on arrowleaf balsamroot response to fire, see Fire Case Studies. The following Research Project Summaries also provide information on prescribed fire and postfire responses of plant species, including arrowleaf balsamroot, that was not available when this species review was originally written.
The site is on a generally southeast aspect below 4,921 feet (1,500 m). Slope averages 30% with a maximum of 50%.
Four transects were placed on each burn to inventory fuels and vegetation and to characterize the fire. Pre- and postfire measurements were taken on the same plots. Downed woody fuels were inventoried on a 164-foot-long (50 m) transect. The same baseline was used to establish contiguous blocks and nested plots for sampling vegetation.
Fuel loadings for spring and fall burns were:
|Size classes (inches)|
|Transect number||0-1/4||1/4-1||1-3||3+ S1||3+ R2|
|Fuel loading (tons/acre)|
Fine fuel moisture contents in percents:
|S1-2 upper slope||8||67|
|S1-1 lower slope||12||149|
|F1-4 upper slope||6||55|
|F1-1 lower slope||8||53|
Environmental conditions for the burns:
|Transect||Dry bulb temperature (oF)||Relative humidity (%)||Wind velocity (mi/hr)|
|S1-2 upper slope||65||36||5/gusts to 7|
|S1-3 mid-slope||57||30||6/gusts to 10|
|S1-1 lower slope||62||37||6/gusts to 8|
|F1-4 upper slope||59||30||6/gusts to 8|
|F1-1 lower slope||70||18||7/gusts to 12|
|Transect||Rate of spread (meters/hour)||Flame length (feet)|
|S1-2 upper slope||221||3|
|S1-1 lower slope||362||3|
|F1-4 upper slope||1126||10|
|F1-1 lower slope||805||8|
|Spring burn||Fall burn|
|1979 (preburn)||1980 (postburn)||1981 (postburn)||1979 (preburn)||1980 (postburn)||1981 (postburn)|
Domestic sheep utilize arrowleaf balsamroot, especially in the spring. In a study at the U. S. Sheep Experimental Station in Idaho, Mueggler  found herbage dry weight of arrowleaf balsamroot produced in a paddock and grazed by domestic sheep in both fall and spring to be less than 1% of that produced in a paddock grazed only in fall. Laycock , in a separate experiment at the U. S. Sheep Experimental Station, found "heavy" spring grazing by domestic sheep caused an 85% decrease in production of arrowleaf balsamroot.
In a 1957 study in the Bridger Mountains of Montana, Wilkins  found Rocky Mountain mule deer utilized arrowleaf balsamroot year-round and that arrowleaf balsamroot was 1 of the "most important" forbs in all seasons. The following table shows seasonal use:
|Observed instances of use (%)||Number of rumen samples||Percent volume of rumen samples||Percent weight of rumen samples|
A separate study in Montana found arrowleaf balsamroot "a highly preferred deer forage ." In a 1956 study of Rocky Mountain mule deer in the Great Basin of California, Leach  found that arrowleaf balsamroot was utilized in winter months.
In a 1973 literature review, Kufeld and others  found arrowleaf balsamroot to be of "moderate" importance year-round as food used by Rocky Mountain mule deer. They list it as 1 of the most frequent forbs in Rocky Mountain mule deer diets.
Food habits of mule deer were quantified by Burrell  in a study in Entiat, Washington, in relation to the abundance of antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) on critical winter range. Utilization of arrowleaf balsamroot was different on the 3 sites studied, but remained relatively steady within each site throughout the winter.
A study in British Columbia determined arrowleaf balsamroot commonly occurs in the diet of California bighorn sheep. Leaf length, basal diameter, culm length, and culm numbers appear to be unaffected by grazing by bighorn sheep . In an Idaho study in the River of No Return Wilderness Area, arrowleaf balsamroot made up 10% of the June-August diet of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on Big Creek .
Arrowleaf balsamroot is utilized in spring by pronghorns in California  and Wyoming .
Markum  conducted a study of elk ecology in western Montana and found arrowleaf balsamroot was both utilized and preferred by elk during June, July, and August. Kufeld  did a literature review of foods used by Rocky Mountain elk and found arrowleaf balsamroot to be a "valuable" food in winter and spring, and was "least valuable" in summer.
Columbia ground squirrels utilize the leaves of arrowroot balsamroot in central Idaho subalpine forest openings . In a study of flammulated owl habitat in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, Wright  found the owls to be positively associated with dry-site indicator species such as arrowleaf balsamroot.
Palatability/nutritional value: Arrowleaf balsamroot is an important forage plant; it is especially valuable on spring ranges. It is usually of fair palatability for all classes of livestock. In some localities both cattle and domestic sheep graze it closely even where other palatable forage is abundant. Flowers are especially palatable, but all portions of the plant except for the coarser stalks are eaten. Horses like arrowleaf balsamroot and are especially fond of the flowers. Plants are eaten throughout the grazing season but are usually more palatable during spring and early summer than later when tough and dry. Dry leafage is eaten "lightly" by horses, cattle, domestic sheep, and game animals especially in fall when moistened by early rains and snow .
Arrowleaf balsamroot contains nearly 30% protein when immature and 10% protein when mature . Elliott and Flinders  reported monthly percent nutrient and moisture content of arrowleaf balsamroot at Rush Point, River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. Figures represent the average and standard deviation for each month given.
|Month||Crude fiber||Crude protein||Ca||P||Ca:P||Moisture|
|June||29 ± 2.1||20 ± 3.2||2.45 ± 1.15||0.26 ± 0.06||9.4:1||81 ± 3|
|July||31 ± 6.4||14 ± 1.0||1.57 ± 0.83||0.21 ± 0.11||7.5:1||63 ± 3|
|August||29 ± 3.4||10 ± 1.8||1.48 ± 0.76||0.19 ± 0.03||7.8:1||52 ± 2|
Winter nutritive value of arrowleaf balsamroot is: crude protein, 3.6% and P, 0.06% .
Merrill and others  found arrowleaf balsamroot to have mineral concentrations of greater than 2.0% nitrogen, 4.0% potassium, and 1.3% calcium. For a discussion of how fire affected these and other mineral concentrations see Discussion and Qualification of Plant Response.
McClean and Marchand  classify arrowleaf balsamroot's palatability as fair in a ponderosa pine habitat type in southern British Columbia. They rate it as an "increaser." It is "occasional" on excellent and good ranges, "common" on fair ranges and "common to abundant" on poor ranges.
Cover value: A study of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in western Idaho showed a significantly (P<0.05) higher mean canopy coverage of arrowleaf balsamroot at flush sites than at random sites . A similar study, in west-central Idaho, found Columbian sharp-tailed grouse selected areas with greater canopy coverage and density of arrowleaf balsamroot than random sites .
Klebenow  studied sage-grouse nesting and brooding habitat in
Idaho and determined arrowleaf balsamroot was found more frequently on nesting
sites than non-nesting sites, though the difference was not significant. He also found
arrowleaf balsamroot was "associated" with broods. He speculated that
arrowleaf balsamroot is an indicator that site conditions are suitable for other
species of plants that attract sage-grouse.
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Arrowleaf balsamroot has been utilized in seeding mixtures for restoration, recovery of disturbed sites, and improving forage production. Kitchen and Monsen  found seed dormancy of arrowleaf balsamroot prevents summer or fall germination. Fall seeding allows for full operation of dormancy breaking processes and reduces risk of seed predation associated with summer dispersal. Since optimum temperatures for germination are essentially optimum temperatures for stratification, stratification of arrowleaf balsamroot seeds before sowing in the field or nursery may cause emerging radicles to be damaged (see Germination).
Arrowleaf balsamroot has been used as part of a seed mix for game range restoration in Utah. It has a rated "high" potential for restoration of oil shale, coal-mined lands, and roadside and critical site stabilization and beautification. It has medium potential for revegetation of surface disturbed lands in the Intermountain Region .
Also in Utah, Stevens and Davis  rate arrowleaf balsamroot as a species "with potential" for seeding into Gambel oak communities to improve forage production. The specific types of Gambel oak communities are: north and east exposures; sunny, dry exposures; and "open" Gambel oak-Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) sites.
Stanton  includes seeds of arrowleaf balsamroot in seed mixture for big sagebrush types in a table taken from Plummer and others, 1968. He recommends 0.25 to 0.5 pound of seed per acre (0.6-1.2 kg/ha) when using a drill and 0.5 to 1 pound per acre (1.2-2.4 kg/ha) when broadcasting seed as part of a seed mixture. Soil should be well drained and "fairly" dry in areas with at least 9 inches (225 mm) of precipitation. Kitchen  recommends 1.0 to 4.0 pound of seed per acre (1.1-4.5 kg/ha) when used as part of a "diverse" seed mix.
In an experiment rating species for seeding arid rangeland in southern Idaho, arrowleaf balsamroot establishment was rated as "very poor" with a 65% failure rate . Shaw and Monsen  assign a low rating to arrowleaf balsamroot's soil stabilization qualities. Better stands develop by planting arrowleaf balsamroot in alternate rows with quicker developing or more competitive species .
In a laboratory study of "commonly planted" seeds used in reseeding projects, arrowleaf balsamroot seeds were rated 3rd of 18 in preference tests with deer mice. This may account for predation of seeds in areas where deer mice are common . Shaw and Monsen  state insect predation of arrowleaf balsamroot seed is common.
In 1996, 625 pounds (284 kg) of arrowleaf balsamroot seed were sold by 5 Utah companies . A "low" percent of establishment success can be expected even when proper transplanting techniques are followed when using bareroot and wilding stock of arrowleaf balsamroot .
Stanton  recommends arrowleaf balsamroot seeds be cleaned with a
macerator-chopper and fan.
He designates 95% as an acceptable purity level with 5 years as a limit on
storage. With 5 years storage there should be a germination level of 36-52%.
Arrowleaf balsamroot has been traditionally been used by First Nation peoples for many uses including food and medicine. Native Americans in Washington State used the "sprouts" of arrowleaf balsamroot in their diet. These shoots are high in ascorbic acid (13.75 mg/g) . Native Canadians of British Columbia also ate the sprouts along with the starchy roots. In addition, the plant was used to treat stomachache, headache, colds, fever, sore throat, toothache, wounds, insect bites, and swellings .
Houston and others  state Native Americans in Wyoming ate the young stalks, roots and seeds of arrowleaf balsamroot. Members of the Salish, Kootenai, and Nez Perce tribes peeled arrowleaf balsamroot's young, immature flower stems and ate the tender inner portion raw, like celery. The Nez Perce ate the seeds. Salish used the large, coarse leaves as a poultice for burns and drank tea brewed from the roots for tuberculosis, whooping cough, increased urine, and as a cathartic. Members of the Kootenai tribe boiled the roots and applied the infusion as a poultice for wounds, cuts, and bruises .
The Cheyenne tribe boiled roots, stems, and leaves and drank the decoction
for stomach pains and headaches. They also steamed the plant and inhaled the
vapors for the same purposes .
OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Herbicides: There are no accounts in the literature of herbicides being used specifically on arrowleaf balsamroot. However, reaction of arrowleaf balsamroot to herbicides when they were used on other plants has been observed. In eastern Idaho, forbs may account for as much as 50% of herbaceous production. Use of herbicides in this area to manage sagebrush-grass communities is likely to reduce forbs, including arrowleaf balsamroot, which is typically 1 of the most abundant forbs . Application of 2,4-D to big sagebrush in Clark County, Idaho, resulted in "heavy" damage to arrowleaf balsamroot .
Rice and Toney  conducted experiments with picloram and a mixture of clopyralid and 2,4-D on spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos) in Montana, and found arrowleaf balsamroot showed no response, positive or negative, to treatments applied. Carpenter , also in Montana, applied picloram and picloram + clopyralid to spotted knapweed. Arrowleaf balsamroot leaves appeared withered shortly after spraying on treatments containing picloram, but plants were present and vigorous on all treatments 12 months after spraying.
Grazing: When grazing domestic sheep in sagebrush with good understory of perennial grasses and "weeds," it is recommended to leave 50% of total growth of arrowleaf balsamroot at the end of the spring grazing season and 40% at the end of the fall season .
Areas that have been seeded with arrowleaf balsamroot should not be grazed for at least 2 growing seasons following seeding .
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