Plants (15-)20-40(-65) cm. Basal leaves: blades ± silvery to white or gray-green, rounded-deltate or deltate to triangular-deltate, 5-25 × 3-15 cm, bases ± cordate, margins entire, apices acute to attenuate, faces sericeous, tomentose, tomentulose, or velutinous (at least abaxially, usually gland-dotted as well), sometimes glabrescent. Heads usually borne singly, sometimes 2-3+. Involucres hemispheric to turbinate, 12-25 mm diam. Outer phyllaries lanceolate to oblance-olate or linear, (15-)20-25(-30+) mm, equaling or surpassing inner, apices acute to acuminate. Ray laminae 20-40 mm. 2n = 38.
Balsamorhiza sagittata grows east of the Cascade-Sierra axis to the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills. It is one of the more spectacular of all spring-flowering plants in the northwestern United States. Hybrids occur along lines of contact between B. sagittata and almost all species of sect. Balsamorhiza except B. macrophylla (a high polyploid).