Fern leaf desert parsley in bloom along the powerline service road along the trail up Starvation Ridge, Columbia River Gorge.........April 26, 2015.
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.
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 (See photo below.). 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 photo below.). Found from southern British Columbia and Alberta south to central Oregon, northern Wyoming, central Idaho, and northern Nevada.
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.
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 purple-flowered form may be found between the elevations of 100'-4200' from near Bridal Veil State Park in the west eastward to rocky slopes to the East of Lyle, WA, and near Chenoweth and Lyle. The yellow-flowered form may be found between the elevations of 200'-700' along Washington State Road #14 about one mile east of the Maryhill Museum. Variety multifidum may be found along the lower Deschutes River.
Fernleaf desert parsley as seen above the Wasco County rock quarry on Sevenmile Hill, Columbia River Gorge........April 12, 2015.
The photo above shows fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) as seen in oak forest on the grade from the Klickitat River towards Goldendale, WA.........April 11, 2008. Click to see a a larger version of the photo.