Species Profile

Deltoid Balsamroot

Scientific Name: Balsamorhiza deltoidea
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2009
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: Met criteria for Threatened, A2ac; B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v), but designated Endangered, B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v), because 4 of the native populations may not be viable.
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A showy perennial comprising only eight natural populations containing about 1600 mature plants. The largest population has declined greatly due to site development in recent years and accounts for most of the 35-40% decline in the total Canadian population. All populations experience continued habitat degradation from competition with invasive introduced plants. Four of the eight populations are also at risk of extirpation from stochastic events due to the presence of only one to several plants in each.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated in April 1996 as Endangered. Status re-examined and confirmed Endangered in May 2000 and in April 2009.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Deltoid Balsamroot

Deltoid Balsamroot Photo 1

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Description

Deltoid Balsamroot is a perennial herb and member of the aster family. It comprises one or more unbranched stems up to 1 m tall. The leaves at the base are large and triangular, growing up to 50 cm long and 20 cm wide. The stem leaves are much smaller and somewhat narrower. The flowers are grouped together in a flower head, which resembles a single flower. Each stem bears a single flower head consisting of a disk of small yellow flowers without petals. The flower head is rimmed with a peripheral ring of larger, bright yellow ray flowers, each of which has a single long petal. The dry fruits, or achenes, are small and smooth and contain a single seed. Arrowleaf Balsamroot is the only other species in Canada that might be confused with Deltoid Balsamroot, but the ranges of the two species do not overlap.

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Distribution and Population

Deltoid Balsamroot occurs from the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, south through Puget Sound in the state of Washington to the Willamette Valley of central Oregon, onwards into California, where it occurs both in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains and dry coastal areas along the Pacific Ocean. In Canada, the species has been reported from at least 16, and perhaps as many as 20 coastal locations on the southeast side of Vancouver Island, from Campbell River to the vicinity of Victoria. By 2007, only 8 of the 16 confirmed populations were extant. In 2007, there were 1589 mature plants, i.e., that were large enough to flower, in the 8 known populations of Deltoid Balsamroot in British Columbia. Most Canadian populations appear to have been relatively stable since 1996. However, the largest population, the Campbell River population, has declined from a peak of approximately 1700 plants in 1992 to 345 plants in 2007. This is the result of the development of the site in 2003. The sharp decline in the Campbell River population accounts for most of the 35 to 40% decline in the total Canadian population since 1996. All populations are experiencing continued habitat degradation from competition with introduced invasive plants. Four of the eight populations comprise only one to several plants each, which puts them at risk of extirpation due to chance events.

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Habitat

In Canada, Deltoid Balsamroot usually occurs in meadows or woodlands dominated by Garry Oak and/or Douglas-fir. Shrubs are usually sparse, although invasive shrubs, such as Scotch Broom, are often present. The herb layer is well developed and is often dominated by invasive grasses. Summer droughts cause the herbaceous vegetation to die back in June and July. While Deltoid Balsamroot appears to require deep soil, rocks frequently outcrop near or within populations. The species prefers well-drained soil, generally moist in the spring, with the moisture level subsequently diminishing.

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Biology

In Canada, the shoots begin to develop in April, and flowering peaks in May. Seeds probably germinate in early spring and most plants likely require several years to flower. The flowers are pollinated by insects, but seed production is low. In the largest Canadian population, a high proportion of Deltoid Balsamroot seeds produced each year do not develop to maturity, perhaps as a result of the rapid onset of drought conditions in June. Seed production is also limited by vertebrate grazing and by insects feeding in the flower heads. The achenes are shed as the plants begin to wither, usually in late June. The small dry fruits lack any structures to aid dispersal by wind, water or animals, so most seeds are probably dispersed over very short distances, not far from the parent plant. Summer droughts are probably a critical stressor, and plant adaptations to moisture stress undoubtedly play a key role in determining species competition. Mature Deltoid Balsamroot plants possess a long, deep taproot that stores moisture and nutrients.

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Threats

The amount of potential habitat on southeast Vancouver Island and the adjacent offshore islands has declined greatly over the past century as suitable woodlands and maritime meadows have been destroyed during the development of land for residential and recreational use. The most expensive and sought-after properties are in coastal areas, where most Deltoid Balsamroot habitat is found. Today, the most direct and immediate threat to the species is habitat destruction, particularly at Campbell River, where a significant proportion of the habitat supporting the largest Canadian population of the species has been converted into parking lots and light industrial developments. Invasion by exotic plant species, which compete with Deltoid Balsamroot for light and nutrients, is a threat to several populations. Invasive shrubs, such as Scotch Broom, are being controlled in five of the eight extant populations. Canadian populations of Deltoid Balsamroot can be heavily affected by herbivory. Columbia Black-tail Deer and Eastern Cottontails may remove sufficient leaf material to cause a long-term decline in plant vigour. Insects could also cause substantial leaf loss in some populations. Trampling and flower picking are another threat to populations that occur along trails, as at Mount Tzuhalem, Thetis Lake, Beacon Hill Park and perhaps Campbell River. The population at Campbell River was fenced in 2007 to prevent it from being damaged by vehicles using the parking lot that encircles it. Trail maintenance activities, including regrading and mowing, pose a threat to the populations at Thetis Lake and Beacon Hill Park.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Deltoid Balsamroot is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

One very small population, comprising two plants, occurs in a national historic site managed by Parks Canada, so that they are on federal land protected by the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Deltoid Balsamroot is not protected by any provincial legislation in British Columbia. Three populations occur in parks managed by municipal or regional governments, where they would potentially receive some protection from habitat loss due to development activities.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for Multi-species at Risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team

  • Conan Webb - Chair/Contact - Parks Canada
    Phone: 250-478-5153  Send Email

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Deltoid Balsamroot Balsamorhiza deltoidea in Canada (2009-08-28)

    Deltoid Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) is a perennial herb arising from a deep, fleshy taproot with stems reaching to heights of 1 m. It is a member of the aster family. The basal leaves are large, long-stalked and triangular. The stem leaves are much smaller and narrower. Each flower head consists of a central disk bearing small yellow flowers and a peripheral ring of larger yellow flowers. The fruits are small, dry, hairless achenes.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Deltoid Balsamroot (2009-11-25)

    A showy perennial comprising only eight natural populations containing about 1600 mature plants. The largest population has declined greatly due to site development in recent years and accounts for most of the 35-40% decline in the total Canadian population. All populations experience continued habitat degradation from competition with invasive introduced plants. Four of the eight populations are also at risk of extirpation from stochastic events due to the presence of only one to several plants in each.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for Multi-Species at Risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada (2016-11-04)

    This strategy has been developed under the broader Recovery Strategy for Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems and their Associated Species at Risk in Canada: 2001-2006 (GOERT 2002) to address the recovery of five plant species at risk that occur within Garry oak (Quercus garryana) woodland habitat: deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea), white-top aster (Sericocarpus rigidus), small-flowered tonella (Tonella tenella), Howell's triteleia (Triteleia howellii), and yellow montane violet (Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa).

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada (2017-08-24)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada (Fort Rodd Hill) applies to lands occurring within the boundaries of the site. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at Fort Rodd Hill.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2009 (2009-08-28)

    2009 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#FRH-2005-1678), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2005-06-13)

    It has been determined that the Deltoid Balsamroot population at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada was in decline, possibly due to herbivory, competition by non-native vegetation, and/or increased shading by trees. As part of recovery efforts underway for the species, a portion of the mature seeds will be collected during years of sufficient seed production: A maximum of ten percent of the produced seeds each year will be used as a guideline for the amount collected. These seeds will be grown in a nursery with the intention of reintroduction into the area surrounding the parent plants at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#FRH-2011-10054), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2011-08-03)

    To improve the viability of the Deltoid Balsamroot population at its natural location at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site and to establish an additional subpopulation at Rodd Hill National Historic Site. Removal of exotic herbs and shrubs and native trees and shrubs as needed from the vicinity of deltoid balsamroot plants. Install fencing around critical and potential critical habitat. Determine if the population is genetically or environmentally limited. Grow plants at a nursery (from seed or tissue culture) and plant additional deltoid balsamroot individuals. It will take plants 2-4 years to mature to a state where their reproductive vitality can be assessed relative to their wild parents. Establish a bank of genetic material.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#FRH-2016-21599-SARA ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2016-06-01)

    Parks Canada will collect seeds or other propagules, grow plants in a nursery, prepare and maintain translocation sites and out-plant the resulting stock to suitable sites at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and or Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site to increase populations of a number of species at risk in coastal sand dune and Garry Oak ecosystems, as per the recovery strategies for the species.
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