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

Arnica lonchophylla Greene
northern arnica (alpine arnica; long-leaf arnica)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Amelie Rousseau  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6210)

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Distribution of Arnica lonchophylla
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Species Information

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General: Perennial herb, from an ascending, fibrous-rooted rhizome or stem-base; stems leafy, erect or sometimes ascending, simple or branched only in the inflorescence, sparsely to densely hairy or sometimes glandular at least in the upper portion, 10-50 cm tall.
Basal leaves lance-shaped to narrowly elliptic, hairy and often glandular, stalked, entire to toothed; stem leaves opposite, 2-4 pairs (rarely 1 or 5), reduced and becoming unstalked and entire upwards.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, solitary to 5 (rarely 7), the bases densely white-hairy; involucres 10-18 mm tall; involucral bracts lance-shaped, hairy, and usually glandular; ray flowers yellow, 10-16, toothed at the apex; disk flowers yellow.
Achenes 4-8 mm long, uniformly densely hairy and often glandular; pappus white, finely-barbed.
Four subspecies occur in BC.

1. Plants and involucres conspicuously white, woolly long-hairy; stems 5-20 cm tall, common in the alpine zone throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains.................... ssp. tomentosa (Macoun) G. W. Dougl. & G. Ruyle-Dougl.

1. Plants and involucres never conspicuously white, woolly long-hairy; stems 10-50 cm tall, frequent in N and E BC.

2. Leaves regularly toothed (at least the basal ones), lower leaves long-stalked; stems 20-45 cm tall, frequent in the montane zone of the Rocky Mountains of NE and SE BC.................. ssp. lonchophylla (Greene) G.W. Dougl.& G. Ruyle-Dougl.

2. Leaves entire or sometimes irregularly toothed, lower leaves short-stalked; stems 10-45 cm tall, plants of the montane and lower subalpine zones of N BC.

3. Heads solitary (rarely 3); stem leaves 2-3 pairs; stems 10-25 (rarely 30) cm tall..................... ssp. Angustifolia

3. Heads 3-5 (rarely 1 or 7), stem leaves 4-5 pairs (rarely 3 pairs); stems 15-45 cm tall.................... ssp. attenuata (Greene) G.W. Dougl. & G. Ruyle-Dougl.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry sites from the montane to alpine zones; common in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains (see key below); circumboreal, N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to MN, SD and WA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Arnica arnoglossa Greene
Arnica lonchophylla var. arnoglossa (Greene) B. Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References