The hills of Penticton now possess a splash of colour, thanks to the recently-bloomed Arrowleaf Balsamroot.
The flower, a part of the sunflower family, is appropriately known as the Oregon Sunflower in some parts of the United States. The wildflower can be seen throughout western Canada and the United States, and in addition to its stunning colour, also has many uses.
According to the U.S Forest Service, the roots, which can be feet deep, may be baked or steamed and eaten, as well as the young shoots. The immature flower stems can be peeled and eaten; the flowers themselves are good browse for wildlife.
Balsamroot seeds are nutritious and oil-rich, another good source of food. The root can be used as a coffee substitute in a pinch, and in the past has been used medicinally.