[Biscuitroots and Desert Parsleys: The Genus Lomatium East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]
Columbia Desert Parsley, Columbia Gorge Desert-parsley, Columbia Lomatium, Purple Lomatium
Synonym: Leptotaenia purpurea
The photo above shows the newly blooming Columbia desert parsley as seen on cliffs above the South Fork Cowiche Creek at the Snow Mt. Ranch to the west of Yakima, WA.........March, 23, 2008.
photo at right shows a close-up of the flowers of one umbelet of Columbia desert
parsley as seen along Cowiche Mill Road several miles west of Yakima, WA........March
Columbia desert parsley is a very attractive perennial wildflower
with one to several stout, erect stems arising from 30-60 cm high from a thick,
woody taproot. The stems are generally leafless, although a single stem leaf
may be possible. The herbage is glabrous and strongly glaucous (blue-gray).
The leaves are ternate-pinnately dissected into narrow linear segments from
6-15 mm long and about 1 mm wide. Individual leaves are 15-30 cm long with strong
petioles. The flowering stems are hollow and 50-100 cm long.
The inflorescence is an umbel with 10-20 rays, each from 10-12
cm long at maturity and generally all roughly equal in length. The petals are
a deep reddish purple, or occasionally may be yellow. Numerous narrow bracts
are found beneath each umbelet. The glabrous fruits are elliptic to oblong in
shape with thick wings less than half as wide as the body. The fruits are 16-28
mm long, 8-15 mm wide, and found atop pedicels from 1-2 cm long. Columbia desert
parsley typically begins to bloom immediately as it emerges from the ground,
and then sporadically for up to 6 weeks later.
It is possible to grow Columbia desert parsley on the west side
of the Cascade Mts. I have 2 plants, one of which has flowered for 3 years and
is growing in size. Plants can be placed in the middle or back of a raised bed
(I use a mix of composted soil and gritty sand with moderate sized rocks place
around the crown.) with sufficient room for growth (plants can be up to one
meter in diameter). These beds are covered with sheet plastic draped over PVC
pipe for 2-3 months during the winter. The leaves can suffer from mold late
in the season, especially during wet years.
The photo above shows a close-up of the narrow bractlets of the involucels which are widest at their base and taper gradually to their tips. Photographed about one-half mile north of Chenoweth Creek along the old highway to the west of The Dalles, OR........February 12, 2006.
The photo above shows the umbel and large fruits
of Columbia desert parsley as seen along Major Creek, Columbia River Gorge..........May
Columbia desert parsley is found on dry, often rocky slopes
at low elevations.
Columbia desert parsley may be found in the Columbia River Gorge
extending northward in the Klickitat River canyon in Klickitat County in Washington and Hood River County and southward in the eastern Cascade Mt. foothills of Wasco County in Oregon.
The photo above shows an attractive, large clump of Columbia desert parsley as seen along Cowiche Mill Road several miles to the west of Yakima, WA.........March 23, 2007.
The photos above show various views of Columbia desert parsley as seen on Cowiche Mt. at the Snow Mt. Ranch to the west of Yakima, WA.........March 23, 2008.
The photo above shows an attractive, large
clump of Columbia desert parsley as seen along Cowiche Mill Road several miles to the west of Yakima, WA........March 28, 2007. In true life,
the flowers are probably not quite so dark red. Many films do not capture their true
color very well, although the photo at the top of the page would be a good representation
of a lighter colored form.
The photo above shows an attractive, large clump of Columbia desert parsley as seen along Cowiche Mill Road several miles to the west of Yakima, WA.........March 28, 2007.
Close-up of Columbia desert parsley with its fruits nearing maturation as seen on steep open slopes above the Klickitat River in the Klickitat State Wildlife Area of south-central Washington.........May 24, 2009.
This photo shows columbia desert parslely in bloom in the Klickitat River Canyon between Glenwood, WA and Goldendale, WA........April 5, 2008.
The photo above shows the newly blooming Columbia desert parsley as seen at Tom McCall Nature Preserve........2004.