[Desert Parsleys East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Indian Biscuitroot, Piper's Desert Parsley, Salt-and-pepper

Lomatium piperi

Synonym: Cogswellia piperi

Indian Biscuitroot, Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi (Synonym: Cogswellia piperi)

The photo above shows salt-and-pepper as seen on lithosol soils at the Snow Mt. Ranch along the trail to Cowiche Mt. to the west of Yakima, WA...........March 23, 2008.

The photo at right shows one compact umbelet of salt and pepper. Note the bracts beneath the umbelet and a close-up of one of the flowers with its reddish-purple anthers. Photographed atop the Dalles Mt., Columbia River Gorge..........April 22, 2001.
Characteristics:

As noted below, Piper's desert parsley is similar to both Gorman's and Geyer's desert parsleys. Many text have previously lumped both Gorman's and Piper's desert parsleys as Lomatium gormanii. The information presented here tries to differentiate L. piperi from the other two plants.

Piper's desert parsley, also known as salt and pepper, is a small perennial wildflower with one to a few stems ascending from 7-25 cm high from a rounded tuber from 1-2 cm in diameter. Its herbage is glabrous or covered with some fine, short hairs. The one to several leaves are all attached to the stem at or below the ground. The leaves are ternate and then pinnately to bipinnately comound with blades from 3-7.5 cm long and petioles from 3.5-10 cm long. The leaflets are parted into linear, obtuse segments from 5-30 mm long and 1-2 mm wide.

The inflorescence is an umbel with 3-20 spreading stems from 1-6 cm long, each subtending an umbelet. Their may be some minute, linear bracts less than 2 mm long beneath the umbelets or these may be absent. The umbelets contain 6-13 white flowers with purple anthers. The fruits are narrowly to broadly elliptic or ovate in shape with wings about one-half as wide as the body. They are 5-8 mm long and the surfaces are glabrous.


Similar Species:

Geyer's Desert Parsley: Lomatium geyeri - Plants from 15-40 cm tall at maturity. The glabrous fruits are 7-12 mm long and the bracts of the umbellets are 2-3 mm long.

Salt and Pepper, Gorman's Desert Parsley: Lomatium gormanii - Plants up to 15 cm tall. Fruits minutely pubescent. The minutely pubescent fruits are 5-7 mm long and the bracts of the umbellets are typically less than 2 mm long. Floral stems lacking leaves or branches.

Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi - Plants up to 15 cm tall. The glabrous fruits are 5-7 mm long with the bracts of the umbellets typically less than 2 mm long. Floral stems branched or with small leaves.


Habitat:

Salt and pepper may be found on arid, open slopes and scablands in the foothills and on the plains.


Range:

Salt and pepper may be found east of the Cascade Mts. from central Washington, central Oregon, and Idaho and California.


Indian Biscuitroot, Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi (Synonym: Cogswellia piperi)

The photo above shows salt-and-pepper as seen on lithosol soils at the Snow Mt. Ranch along the trail to Cowiche Mt. to the west of Yakima, WA...........March 23, 2008. Astem leaf can be seen on the stem below the umbel at upper right in this photo.

Indian Biscuitroot, Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi (Synonym: Cogswellia piperi) - Indian Biscuitroot, Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi (Synonym: Cogswellia piperi)

Maturing fruits of piper's desert parsley as seen with midget phlox (Microsteris gracilis) and a yellow-flowered umbel of slender-fruited desert parsley (Lomatium leptocarpum) as seen in scablands near the junction of FS Roads #42 and #300, Ochoco National Forest and adjacent BLM lands..........April 30, 2016.

Indian Biscuitroot, Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi (Synonym: Cogswellia piperi)

The photo above shows salt-and-pepper as seen on basalt outcrops along the old highway about one mile east of Celilo, OR in north-central Oregon...........February 12, 2006.

Indian Biscuitroot, Salt and Pepper, Piper's Desert Parsley: Lomatium piperi (Synonym: Cogswellia piperi)

The photo above shows the tight umbel of salt and pepper as seen atop the Dalles Mt., Columbia River Gorge............March 2002.

Paul Slichter