Index
Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Arnica Sp.

Family: Asteraceae (Aster)[E-flora]

"Perennial herb, generally from long, naked rhizome. Leaf: basal 0 or generally withered by flowering, or present as sterile rosettes; cauline opposite. Inflorescence: heads radiate or discoid (radiant), 1–many in ± flat-topped clusters; generally erect in bud (nodding); involucre hemispheric to obconic; phyllaries generally in 2 ± equal series; receptacle ± flat, epaleate. Ray flower: 0 or 5–22; ray yellow or yellow-orange. Disk flower: many, generally bisexual; corolla generally soft-hairy, generally colored like rays; anther tip triangular; style branches flat, tips truncate, short-hair-tufted. Fruit: ± cylindric, 5–10-veined; pappus (0 or) of many barbed to ± plumose bristles, white to red-brown.
29 species: North America, Eurasia. (Latin or Greek: ancient name) [Wolf 2006 FNANM 21:366–377] Diploid species sexual; polyploid species generally form seeds asexually." [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Arnica chamissonis - meadow arnica [E-flora]
  2. Arnica cordifolia - heart-leaved arnica [E-flora]
  3. Arnica gracilis - tall mountain arnica [E-flora]
  4. Arnica lanceolata - streambank arnica [E-flora]
  5. Arnica latifolia - mountain arnica [E-flora]
  6. Arnica mollis - hairy arnica [E-flora]
  7. Arnica ovata - leaf arnica [E-flora]
  8. Arnica parryi - Parry's arnica [E-flora]
  9. Arnica rydbergii - Rydberg's arnica [E-flora]

References


Arnica chamissonis - meadow arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a long rhizome; stems erect, solitary, occasionally branched below the middle, sparsely to densely long-hairy, becoming glandular above, 20-100 cm tall."

"Habitat/Range: Wet to mesic meadows and forest openings in the montane and subalpine zones; ssp. chamissonis and ssp. foliosa common in BC, ssp. incana rare; N to AK and YT, E to ON and S to NM, AZ and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Notes:

Three fairly well-marked taxa may be recognized in BC.

References


Arnica cordifolia - heart-leaved arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a long, branching rhizome; stems solitary or occasionally a few clustered together, sparsely hairy with multicellular hairs and often glandular, 10-60 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Notes: Arnica cordifolia appears to hybridize with A. latifolia throughout most of its range. These plants are intermediate, especially in leaf characters. In the alpine zone of S BC a smaller phase with narrow, more or less heart-shaped leaves and more glandular achenes has been recognized by some taxonomists as var. pumila (Rydb) Maguire." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat/Range: Mesic to dry meadows and forests in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascades Mountains, rare on the coast and on SE Vancouver Island; N to AK, YT and NT, E to SK and S to SD, NM, AZ and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information

"A shade-tolerant/intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American forb dis­tributed mainly in the Cordilleran region, marginally in the Pacific and Central regions. Occurs in continental boreal and cool temper­ate climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence increases with increasing elevation and continentality. Grows in meadow-like communities and in open-canopy coniferous forests on high-elevation water-shedding sites in the coast-interior ecotone. Often inhabits exposed mineral soils. Characteristic of continental forests." [IPBC-E-flora]

Hazards

"Arnica contains arnicin, choline, a volatile oil (dimethyl ether of thymohydroquinone), arnidendiol, angelic and formic acid, and certain unidentified substances that alter cardiovascular activity. Herbal Medications warns that active principles ". . . are irritants that produce a violent toxic gastroenteritis, pulse abnormalities, nervous change, intense muscular weakness, cardiovascular collapse, and death." The FDA lists arnica as "unsafe" and bans the herb for human consumption. Taking arnica teas and tinctures internally can invoke symptoms of poisoning, like burning stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Only homeopathic preparations are advised internally; consult a homeopath for recommended dosage." [????]

"When using arnica externally, you may wish to dilute the tincture with water. Pure tincture may cause adverse reactions with sensitive skin. Do not use if cuts or open wounds are present." [????]

A. cordifolia; "The whole plant is toxic and should only be used for external applications to unbroken skin[172]." [PFAF]

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

"Though A. montana (called A. alpina by Hulten) is the preferred species for medicinal use, any arnica can be used in a wilderness emergency. Arnica is a choice herb for EXTERNAL treatment for sprains, strains, and muscular aches and pains. It should be used on UNBROKEN skin only. (See Caution, following.) ." [????]

Foot Powder

"1 cup white or blue clay 1/2 cup dry arnica (whole flowering herb) 1/2 cup dry devil's club (root bark) 1/2 cup dry plantain (whole herb)" [????]
"Grind herbs in coffee mill or herb grinder until a fine powder is produced. Blend well with clay." [????]

Propagation

"Arnica grows well from seeds or root cuttings in a mixture of loam and sand. Though some species can be invasive, I welcome it in the herb and rock gardens. Any thinnings have a very practical use." [????]

References


Arnica gracilis - tall mountain arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a horizontal underground stem; stems erect, solitary or occasionally a few clustered together, sparsely hairy, 10-30 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat/Range: Mesic to dry meadows and rocky slopes in the lowland to alpine zones; common in S BC; E to AB and S to WY and WA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Synonyms: Arnica latifolia var. gracilis (Rydb.) Cronquist

References


Arnica lanceolata - streambank arnica

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows and forest openings in the lowland and montane zones; common in S BC, rare northward; N to S AK and YT and S to CA and NM." [IFBC-E-flora]

Subtaxa Present in B.C.;

Status: Native [E-flora]

References


Arnica latifolia - mountain arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a horizontal underground stem; stems erect, solitary or occasionally a few clustered together, sparsely hairy, 20-60 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Notes: Hybridizes with A. cordifolia, numerous intermediates may be encountered." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range: Mesic to dry forests, meadows and rocky slopes in the lowland to alpine zones; common throughout BC; E to AB and S to WY and WA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information

"A shade-intolerant, montane to subalpine, Asian and Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in alpine tundra and boreal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-medium soils. Plentiful to abundant in meadow-like communities, and scattered in open-canopy coniferous forests on high-elevation water-shedding and water-receiving (seepage and stream-edge) sites. Often inhabits exposed mineral soil. Characteristic of alpine and subalpine communities." [IPBC-E-flora]

Synonyms:

References


Arnica mollis - hairy arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a freely rooted rhizome; stems solitary, sometimes branched above, sparsely to densely hairy with multicellular hairs, sometimes also glandular, 15-65 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range: Moist to mesic meadows and open forests in the lowland to alpine zones; common in S BC, less frequent northward; N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to CO, UT and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

References


Arnica ovata - leaf arnica

"General: Perennial herb, from a freely rooted rhizome; stems erect, solitary or occasionally a few clustered together, sparsely long-hairy and often glandular, 15-45 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Notes: "This "species" is merely a convenient name for a complex series of apparent hybrids involving either A. mollis or A. amplexicaulis and A. cordifolia or A. latifolia (Cronquist 1955). Most of the BC material examined which had been placed under this name is better placed in A. mollis." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat/Range "Mesic forests in the montane zone; infrequent in S BC; N to AK and YT, S to N MT and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Hazards

"Arnica contains arnicin, choline, a volatile oil (dimethyl ether of thymohydroquinone), arnidendiol, angelic and formic acid, and certain unidentified substances that alter cardiovascular activity. Herbal Medications warns that active principles ". . . are irritants that produce a violent toxic gastroenteritis, pulse abnormalities, nervous change, intense muscular weakness, cardiovascular collapse, and death." The FDA lists arnica as "unsafe" and bans the herb for human consumption. Taking arnica teas and tinctures internally can invoke symptoms of poisoning, like burning stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Only homeopathic preparations are advised internally; consult a homeopath for recommended dosage." [????]

"When using arnica externally, you may wish to dilute the tincture with water. Pure tincture may cause adverse reactions with sensitive skin. Do not use if cuts or open wounds are present." [????]

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

"Though A. montana (called A. alpina by Hulten) is the preferred species for medicinal use, any arnica can be used in a wilderness emergency. Arnica is a choice herb for EXTERNAL treatment for sprains, strains, and muscular aches and pains. It should be used on UNBROKEN skin only. (See Caution, following.)" [????]

Foot Powder

"1 cup white or blue clay 1/2 cup dry arnica (whole flowering herb) 1/2 cup dry devil's club (root bark) 1/2 cup dry plantain (whole herb)" [????]
"Grind herbs in coffee mill or herb grinder until a fine powder is produced. Blend well with clay." [????]

Propagation

"Arnica grows well from seeds or root cuttings in a mixture of loam and sand. Though some species can be invasive, I welcome it in the herb and rock gardens. Any thinnings have a very practical use." [????]

Synonyms: Arnica diversifolia [E-flora]

References


Arnica parryi - Parry's arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a freely rooted rhizome; stems erect, solitary, sometimes branched, sparsely to moderately long-hairy with multicellular hairs, often glandular, 15-60 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat/Range: Mesic to dry meadows and forests in the montane and subalpine zones; common in S BC, infrequent northward, absent from coastal and NE BC; N to SE YT, E to AB and S to CO and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Synonyms:

References


Arnica rydbergii - Rydberg's arnica

"General: Perennial herb from a scaly, short-branched rhizome; stems solitary to clustered, erect, sometimes branched above, moderately to densely hairy, 10-30 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range: Mesic to dry meadows and rocky slopes in the alpine zone; common in BC south of 55degreeN; E to AB and S to CO, UT and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Synonyms: Arnica cascadensis H. St. John [E-flora]

References


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