General: plant height: 20-100 cm tall. Growth habit: biennial or, occasionally, short-lived perennial with a usually simple stem base. Stems: simple to sparingly branched from the base, gray-hairy with parallel, lengthwise flat-lying, T-shaped hairs.
Leaves: alternate and in basal rosette, usually numerous, very variable in size, entire to sharply toothed, 3-12 cm long, 2-10 mm broad, slender-stalked, usually gray-hairy with parallel, lengthwise flat-lying, T-shaped hairs.
Flowers: yellow to deep orange or somewhat reddish, in dense, rounded clusters, with 4 petals 15-25 mm long. Outer sepals pouch-shaped at the base.
Fruits: pods 3-10 cm long, 1-1.5 mm broad, usually very slightly flattened but 4-sided in section, ascending to erect, straight or somewhat arching. Stalks stout, ascending, 8-13 mm long. Style beaklike, 2-3.5 mm long. Seeds in 1 series, wingless or slightly wing-margined at the tip.
Common on dry, sandy sites and grasslands, plains to foothills, in most parts of MT. Also from s. B.C. to CA and e. to MN, KS and OK.
Western wallflower has been used as a preventative against sun burn. The plant was ground up, then mixed with water and applied to the skin. It relieves the pain caused by overexposure to heat. A poultice of the whole pounded plant has also been applied to open fresh wounds and rheumatic joints. The Acoma and Laguna Indians used a poultice of chewed leaves applied to swellings. A tea of the whole plant was used by the Zuni Indians as a wash on aching muscles. Another application has been to have headaches relieved by sniffing the crushed leaves. Toothaches have been treated by applying a poultice of the warmed root. An infusion of the crushed seed has been drunk and used externally in the treatment of stomach or bowel cramps. The Hopi Indians used wallflower for treatment of advanced cases of tuberculosis.
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