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.
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.
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.
Salt and pepper may be found on arid, open slopes and scablands in the foothills and on the plains.
Salt and pepper may be found east of the Cascade Mts. from central Washington, central Oregon, and Idaho and California.