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Wyethia amplexicaulis is a perennial herb that grows up to 1 m tall. The stem is stout but lax, and its leaves are large, shiny, round, and grow up to 0.5 m long. The leaves on the stem are more lanced-shape and resemble the ears of a mule. Plants produce large, yellow sunflower-like flower heads with 8 to 17 rays that surround tubular disk flowers. This species blooms from May to June.
This species resembles other species of Balsamorhiza. Wyethia amplexicaulis is distinguished by its leaves which grow on a stem, whereas Balsamorhiza has all its leaves at the base.
This species is starch deficient. No starch granules were observed from seeds or roots.
Wyethia amplexicaulis is distributed from 400 to 3500 m in elevation on open hillsides, foothills, canyons, dry meadows, sagebrush scrub, yellow-pine forests, dry volcanic slopes, and flats. The species flourishes in moist to mesic soil, and well-drained clayey loams.
This species is distributed across the northwestern United States in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah and Nevada.
Wyethia amplexicaulis roots were used for medicine. There are few uses for Wyethia amplexicaulis specifically, but its relative Wyethia mollis has multiple specific uses.
Northern Paiute: "The resinous roots are ground and soaked in water to prepare a solution which is taken as an emetic." (Train et al. 1957:99)