iN PHOTOS: Okanagan sunflowers begin to bloom across Thompson-Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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iN PHOTOS: Okanagan sunflowers begin to bloom across Thompson-Okanagan

These bright yellow Okanagan sunflowers were spotted in Penticton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Dianne Bersea

Arrowleaf balsamroot has started to bloom throughout the Thompson-Okanagan region, a bright and beautiful celebration of spring. 

Known more affectionately as Okanagan sunflowers, the plants grow on open hillsides at mid- to upper-elevations across western Canada and much of the western United States, turning landscapes a vibrant yellow. 

UBC Okanagan professor Ian Walker said in a previous interview with iNFOnews.ca, he hadn’t seen evidence of arrowleaf balsamroot regenerating in areas devastated by wildfire in the Okanagan last year.

“(Arrowleaf balsamroot) tends to grow where there's a little bit more organic matter and so it may have burned a little hotter just where it happened to be,” he said.

The plants are perennials with deep roots that make them more tolerant to wildfires, and according to Walker, plant recovery is expected to be patchy across the burned areas.

“There'll be some areas that are going to take maybe three years before it starts to be revegetated to any significant degree," he said.

These vibrant Okanagan sunflowers were photographed in Penticton.
These vibrant Okanagan sunflowers were photographed in Penticton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Dianne Bersea

The native perennials are not just beautiful, they are rich in protein and a source of food for wildlife like deer, elk and bighorn sheep and can be used to improve spring and summer forage in rangelands.

The bright blooms are attractive to native pollinators, and the seeds are food for birds and rodents.

Nature lover Dianne Bersea was surprised to see the yellow blooms so early on a recent walk in Penticton and took a few photos of them.

“I love the balsamroot flowers,” she said. “It truly was a surprise to see them yesterday since we’d walked quite a way in similar terrain, and then suddenly, there they were, bright and beautiful.”

Arrowleaf balsamroot became the City of Kelowna’s official flower in 2000.

Arrowleaf blooms shine a bright yellow on a hillside in Penticton.
Arrowleaf blooms shine a bright yellow on a hillside in Penticton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Dianne Bersea

Okanagan sunflowers bloom on a hillside in Kelowna.
Okanagan sunflowers bloom on a hillside in Kelowna.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Facebook/ St. Hubertus Vineyard

Okanagan sunflowers bloom in Vernon.
Okanagan sunflowers bloom in Vernon.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Pamela Jenkins

Okanagan sunflowers blooming bright in Kelowna.
Okanagan sunflowers blooming bright in Kelowna.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Facebook/ Bo Knows Homes

A cluster of Arrowleaf blooms seen in Penticton.
A cluster of Arrowleaf blooms seen in Penticton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Dianne Bersea

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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