[The Desert Parsleys of the Columbia River
Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Biscuit Root, Bigseed Biscuitroot, Bigseed Lomatium, Gray-leaf Desert Parsley,
Large-fruit Desert Parsley, Large-fruited Lomatium
Synonyms: Cogswellia macrocarpa, Ferula macrocarpa, Lomatium flavum, Lomatium macrocarpum var. artemisiarum, Lomatium macrocarpum var. ellipticum, Peucedanum macrocarpum
The photo above shows a white-flowered form of biscuit root as seen high in the Columbia Hills.....................February 6, 2006.
photo at right shows a close-up of the newly opening flowers (yellow-form) subtended
by lance-like bractlets below the umbellets. Note also the grayish, hairy foliage................March
Also known as bigseed lomatium, biscuit root is an attractive
perennial wildflower with several to many prostrate, arched, or erect scapes
arising 10-25 cm from a cluster of lacy leaves atop a thick tuberous base. The
stems are largely leafless. The leaves are somewhat ternate-pinnately or pinnately
dissected into small segments up to 9 mm long and to 2 mm wide. The grayish
herbage of the leaves and stems is sparsely to rather densely covered with either
short, fine hairs or long, soft and unmatted shaggy hairs.
The inflorescence consists of a complex umbel , the smaller
umbellets supported on unequal to subequal rays, the longer ranging from 2-6
cm long. The bractlets below the umbellets are narrow, well-developed and conspicuous,
often equaling or longer than the flowers. The pedicels are 1-11 mm long at
maturity. The flowers are white, purplish-white or yellow. The glabrous fruits
are fairly narrow, oblong or linear-oblong or even elliptic in shape, measuring
from 10-20 mm long, and usually 2-5 times as long as wide.
Biscuit root may be found on dry, open rocky plains and hills
from the lowlands to well up in the foothills.
Biscuit root is a widespread species of desert parsley, and
is found from southern British Columbia south through Washington and Oregon
to the east of the Cascade summits to central California, and east to Manitoba,
North Dakota, western Wyoming, and north-central Utah.
In the Columbia River Gorge, the white-flowered form may be
found between the elevations of 200'-2400' from near Doug's Beach in the west
and far eastward into the eastern end of the Gorge. The yellow-flowered form
may be found between the elevations of 100'-3000' from near the White Salmon
River east to the area around The Dalles, OR and Dallesport, WA.
The photo at right shows a close-up of the
fruit of biscuit root as seen near MP 14 along Yellowjacket Road in Umatilla
County, Oregon..........May 26, 2002. The fruits are thick and relatively large
compared to other desert parsleys.
The photo above shows a white-flowered form of biscuit root as seen high in the Columbia Hills.....................March 27, 2004.
A light-purplish flowered specimen of bigseed biscuitroot as seen about one mile east of the high point between Bickleton and Mabton on the Mabton Road, Yakima County..................April 18, 2010.
The photo above shows the white-flowered form
of biscuit root with Hood's phlox as seen atop Stacker Butte in the Columbia
Biscuitroot as seen along the Klickitat Trail, about 2 miles upstream of the Fisher Road Bridge...............March 14, 2010.
A yellow-flowered biscuitroot blooming on mossy basalt outcrops in an open field on the north side of old Highway 30 about one quarter mile west of the Memaloose Overlook.................April 8, 2011.
Biscuitroot blooming on the crest of the Columbia Hills, Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve.........April 3, 2013.
The photo at left shows a yellow-flowered form of biscuitroot beginning to bloom on Marsh Hill along the Memaloose Trail, Columbia River Gorge.........March 23, 2014. At right a cream-colored form of biscuit root as seen from the northwestern corner of the Columbia Hills State Park...........March 24, 2014.
The first biscuitroot blooming in the Columbia Hills State Park east of Eightmile Park........March 2, 2013.