American Arnica, or Meadow Arnica, is closely related to the European species Arnica montana. Both plants contain a toxin called "helenalin" which is believed to be the source of arnica's anti-inflammatory, pain-killing medicinal effects — but it can also be dangerous at certain dosages, so exercise due caution before consuming in any way. It is used in homeopathic preparations in extremely small doses, but nevertheless it is still quite popular and can be found on store shelves around the world in pain-relieving creams and salves. It is now being studied for anti-tumor effects as well. As a garden plant, arnica is a beautiful and easy-to-grow perennial. It forms clumps which expand over time, but not very quickly. It can also re-seed, so do keep an eye on it if you don't want it to spread too far. Its flowers are beautiful, yellow and daisy-like, which is unsurprising for a close relative of sunflowers. Native to the western US and Canada, American arnica is quite adaptable and can be grown from Zones 3 to 9. It prefers full sun, but can handle partial shade, and does need regular rain or watering to get established and to make it through extended periods of drought. These seeds are from Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery in Maine.
GROWING TIPS: Thrives in full sun and acid soil conditions. While slow to establish, they are easy to maintain and spread at a moderate rate by rhizome after the first season. Easier to propagate by divisions then seed.