Arnica montana, a member of the Asteraceae (or sunflower) family, is known for its characteristically large, yellow flower head. Native to Europe, this perennial herb has naturalized in mountainous regions across North America. Arnica flowers are generally infused as arnica oil and blended into topical formulas.
Arnica is a graceful woodland plant in the same family as the sunflower, native to Central Europe and the western United States. Its yellow flowers are collected at summer's end and dried for traditional use. There are many viable species of arnica flowers found around the globe, some of which are found in North American mountain ranges and woodlands.
The most commercially available species is Arnica montana, which is the species available for purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs. This species of arnica is native to Europe, with a natural range stretching from the southern Iberian Peninsula to Scandinavia. The plant has large flower heads with brilliant yellow coloration. Flowers begin to appear during mid-summer and continue blooming well into autumn. For best results, they should be harvested early in the blooming season. The dried flowers are fluffy and fibrous and can be irritating to the nose if handled improperly. Additional common names include European arnica, leopard’s bane, and mountain tobacco.