Large flowered brickelbush (Brickellia grandiflora) was named for John Brickell (1749 – 1809), a Georgia physician and botanist originally from Ireland. Growing from 1 to 3 feet in height, this wildflower or shrub can be found growing in canyons, washes and conifer forests at higher elevations in Western North America and Western Canada.
In early summer, this native perennial grows slowly with growth accelerating in late summer. The dentate, toothed or scalloped leaves are opposite lower on the stem and become alternate near the top. Dark green on the upper side and lighter on the lower surface, the leaves are lance, triangular or heart shaped.
Clusters of nodding flower heads at the tip of the large flowered brickelbush stems form the inflorescence. A member of the sunflower family, the flower head is composed of greenish phyllaries with pointed tips and creamy white to yellowish disc flowers. The fruit is a hairy achene with a pappus of bristles.
Herbalists use tea infusions or alcohol tinctures of large flowered brickelbush to help digestion, lower blood sugar levels and improve bile evacuation from the gall bladder.
Tasselflower brickelbush and large flowered brickellia are also common names for B. grandiflora. Former scientific names for this plant include Coleosanthus grandiflora and Eupatorium grandiflorium.
This brickelbush was photographed along the Falls Trail at Burney Falls State Park (CA) – the flowers in July and the seeds in October.