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

Arnica gracilis Rydb.
tall mountain arnica (slender arnica; smallhead arnica)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #28049)

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Distribution of Arnica gracilis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a horizontal underground stem; stems erect, solitary or occasionally a few clustered together, sparsely hairy, 10-30 cm tall.
Basal leaves smaller than the stem leaves and often deciduous by flowering time, often produced on separate short shoots; stem leaves opposite, 2-4 (sometimes 5) pairs, egg-shaped to lanceolate, 2-8 cm long, 1-2.5 cm wide, often becoming narrower and smaller above, thinly hairy and usually sparsely to densely glandular, stalked below, unstalked above, usually coarsely toothed.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, 3-9, the bases sparsely to moderately hairy with long white or yellow hairs, often glandular; involucres 7-14 mm tall; involucral bracts lanceolate to oblanceolate, sparsely to densely hairy, often glandular, the tips fringed; ray flowers yellow, 8-12, with conspicuous teeth; disk flowers yellow.
Achenes 4-7 mm long, usually glabrous below and sparsely hairy above or glabrous throughout; pappus white, finely-barbed.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Arnica gracilis

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) 1754 2255 2555
Slope Gradient (%) 7 46 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
58 175 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 5
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: AT(1), ESSF(8), IMA(2), SBS(1)


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 latifolia var. gracilis (Rydb.) Cronquist

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References