Montana Outdoors

May 31, 2010

Arnica

After reviewing many plant sites, I have reached the conclusion that I have misidentified this flower in the past, thinking it was Mule-ears.

Heart-leaf ArnicaHeart-leaf arnica, Heart-leaf leopardbane, Arnica cordifolia, Aster family

Heart-leaf Arnica (seed head)(Seed head) Heart-leaf arnica, Heart-leaf leopardbane, Arnica cordifolia, Aster family

It was some time before I understood that this bloom and this seed head go together.

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20 Comments »

  1. I would have just assumed it was a sunflower 🙂 but then I did learn from you that sunflowers are in the aster family so I guess I would have been semi-right.

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    Comment by Candace — May 31, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    • The sunflowers/asters are a big family and some members were a surprise to me (like Chicory).

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      Comment by montucky — May 31, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

  2. Your word is good enough for me.

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    Comment by scienceguy288 — May 31, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

  3. What beautiful photographs! I appreciate you correcting the information on your I.D. I have had to do the same on a bird recently. It happens. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

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    Comment by wildlifewatcher — May 31, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    • I usually have difficulty getting correct ID’s. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement between one reference book or site and the next. I usually study several and then still make mistakes.

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      Comment by montucky — May 31, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  4. I didn’t realize there is more than one type of arnica. Looks like there is more more than 30 of them. It turns out the one I am familiar with (because it is a medicinal herb) is Arnica Montana, but I’m unclear on whether or not is grows wild in the US. I’ve seen it cultivated in herb gardens. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica_montana

    Apparently Arnica Cordifola grows wild in Michigan.

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    Comment by kateri — May 31, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

    • This is an instance where I get tangled up in the reference sites or books. “USDA Plants” shows “Mountain Arnica” for the common name of Arnica Montana but doesn’t show its distribution. The reference book I use for this area and British Columbia shows Arnica latifolia as the scientific name for the common name “Mountain Arnica” and it states that it’s very common in this region. It’s quite confusing.

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      Comment by montucky — May 31, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

  5. Sometimes the multiple Internet hits for a search on a wildflower present a chaotic array of information.

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    Comment by knightofswords — June 1, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    • They sure do. I pretty much gave that up for that reason. Now I stick to one book and three sites that I have found to be credible, although because they sometimes conflict with each other, not infallible.

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      Comment by montucky — June 1, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  6. Wow – I’ve said it before…but you do have the most interesting blooms out there!! Neat!

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    Comment by Stacey Dawn — June 1, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    • Yes, and there are lots of them. I know I still have missed many in even this small area.

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      Comment by montucky — June 1, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

  7. how interesting, and I think arnica has some medicinal effects.

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    Comment by silken — June 1, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

    • I understand that it does although I’m not personally familiar with them.

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      Comment by montucky — June 1, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  8. Anyway great photos. This one is not found here, but we have Arnica montana. This not in nature, but sold.

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    Comment by sartenada — June 2, 2010 @ 12:04 am

    • I have read that Arnica Montana is cultivated and has medicinal uses, but I’m not familiar with it.

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      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

  9. Fabulous! I’ve never seen an Arnica flower or seedhead, though I’m familiar with the usage of Arnica for bruises.

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    Comment by absurdoldbird — June 2, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    • I read that Mountain Arnica, Arnica latifolia was used by some of the native Indians in Canada as a plaster for swelling, bruises and cuts.

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      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

      • It’s available in the UK as a topical cream. Most health food stores and chemists (pharmacists) sell it.

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        Comment by Val — June 3, 2010 @ 4:38 am

        • I’m not personally familiar with it, but with widespread use going back centuries, it likely is effective.

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          Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 8:47 am


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