E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Arnica lessingii Greene
purple arnica (nodding arnica)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Alfred Cook  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #8318)

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Distribution of Arnica lessingii
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome; stems solitary, sometimes branched above, 5-35 cm tall.
Basal leaves smaller than the stem leaves, often deciduous by flowering time; stem leaves 3-4 (rarely 5-6) pairs, often all produced near the basal ones, lanceolate to oblanceolate or elliptic, 1.5-14.5 cm long, 0.5-2.5 cm wide, reduced above, glabrous to hairy below, hairy above, unstalked or stalked below, unstalked above, entire to toothed.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, solitary, usually nodding, the bases moderately long-hairy with brown hairs; involucres 12-17 mm tall; involucral bracts lanceolate to elliptic, long-hairy, the tips fringed; ray flowers yellow, 8-14, conspicuously toothed; disk flowers yellow, anthers purple, conspicuous.
Achenes 5.0-6.5 mm long, sparsely short-hairy to glabrous; pappus brownish, finely-barbed to more or less feathery.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist snowbed sites, streambanks and meadows in the alpine zone; infrequent in N BC; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT, E Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Arnica lessingii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1500 1632 1750
Slope Gradient (%) 2 21 50
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 259 300
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 4 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(6), SWB(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is alpine tundra & boreal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Arnica lessingii subsp. norbergii Hultén & Maguire

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References