General: plant 30-150 cm tall. Growth habit: stout perennial from fibrous roots or rhizomes, often in large clumps. Stems: erect, unbranched, leafy.
Leaves: alternate, numerous, largest near middle of stem, hairless or obscurely short-hairy. Lower leaves broadly to narrowly triangular, rather long-stalked, the upper with shorter stalks or becoming stalkless, often relatively narrower and scarcely triangular. Leaf blades 4-20 cm long and 2-10 cm wide, strongly toothed.
Flowerheads: few or rather numerous in a short, flat-topped cluster, with about 8, or sometimes only 5, yellow rays, 7-13 mm long. Involucre 7-10 mm high, its principal bracts about 13 or sometimes only 8.
Fruits: achenes, faintly veined, with pappus of slender, white, hair-like bristles.
Streambanks and other moist places, mostly at moderate and high elevations in the mountains in w. and s. parts of MT. Also from AK and Yukon to NM and CA.
The Cheyenne Indians used a tea of pulverized leaves or roots from arrow-leaved groundsel as a relief for chest pains. However, groundsels are somewhat toxic so they should never be eaten in any larger quantities.
Groundsels should be treated with caution and are toxic if eaten in larger quantities. Some species contain pyrrolidizine alkaloids, which appear to cause cancer of the liver in rats.
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