[Desert Parsleys East of the Cascade Mts.]

Fern-leaf Desert Parsley

Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum

The photo above shows a close-up of the chocolate or purplish-brown inflorescence of fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) as seen in the Klickitat River Canyon, north of Klickitat, WA....................April 13, 2007.

Characteristics:

Fern-leaf desert parsley is an attractive perennial wildflower with several ascending, glabrous stems arising 40-150 cm high from a large, fleshy to woody, carrot-shaped taproot. The large leaves are generally basal, with up to 2 leaves on the lower stems. The leaves are 15-30 cm long and ternate-pinnately dissected into small and narrow segments about 1 cm long.

The inflorescence is an umbel of 10-30 equal to subequal rays topped by small umbellets, the longest rays 4-10 cm long. The several bracts at the base of each umbellet are narrowly linear while the pedicels in fruit are 4-20 mm long. The flowers are yellow or dark purplish. The fruits are elliptic in shape, measuring 8-17 mm long and 4.5-10 mm wide with the lateral wings narrow and thickened but less than 2 mm wide.


Varieties:

var. dissectum: Fruits sessile or nearly so. Leaves not so finely dissected, the segments broader, often 2-4 mm wide. Found westward from the eastern base of the Cascade Mts. from southern British Columbia south to northern California, and also in northern Idaho.

var. eatonii: Fruits borne on short stems 4-20 mm long. Leaves not so finely dissected, the segments broader, often 2-4 mm wide. Found from central and northeastern Oregon east to southern Idaho, southern Wyoming, and south to Utah, Arizona, Nevada and southern California.

var. multifidum: Fruits borne on short stems 4-20 mm long. Leaves finely dissected, the segments linear and 0.5-1.5 mm wide (See photos above.). Found from southern British Columbia and Alberta south to central Oregon, northern Wyoming, central Idaho, and northern Nevada.


Habitat:

Fern-leaf desert parsley may be found on open rocky talus slopes and in dry rocky meadows from the lowlands to moderate elevation in the mountains.


Range:

Fern-leaf desert parsley may be found from southern British Columbia and Alberta south on both sides of the Cascade Mts. through Washington and Oregon to southern California and east to the Rocky Mts. of Colorado and Arizona.


The photo above shows part of the leaf of fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) as seen in the Klickitat River Canyon to the north of Klickitat, WA....................April 13, 2007.

The photo above shows the leaf of fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) as seen in the Klickitat River Canyon to the north of Klickitat, WA....................April 13, 2007.

The photo above shows fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) hiding under the edge of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata) as seen along the Yakima Skyline Trail to the north of Selah, WA...................March 22, 2008.

Paul Slichter