[Biscuitroots and Desert Parsleys: The Genus Lomatium in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium

Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum

Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta

Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

Fern leaf desert parsley in bloom along the powerline service road along the trail up Starvation Ridge, Columbia River Gorge.........April 26, 2015.

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 (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.


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 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.


Umbel of Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta) - Underside of the umbel of Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

Close-up images of the inflorescence of fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) as seen in oak forest on the grade from the Klickitat River towards Goldendale, WA........April 11, 2008. Plants at the western edge of the range in the Columbia River Gorge have yellow flowers while plants found east of Horsethief Butte commonly have yellow flowers. Also note the long, narrow bracts at the base of each umbellet.

Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

Fern-leaf desert parsley (var. dissectum) as seen at Catherine Creek.........April 13, 2016.

Portion of a leaf blade of Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta) - Umbel of Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

Close-up photos of the umbel and a portion of the leaf blade of fernleaf desert parsley as seen along the Atwood Road high above the Labyrinth in the central Columbia River Gorge.........April 15, 2010.

Leaf of Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

Fernleaf desert parsley as seen above the Wasco County rock quarry on Sevenmile Hill, Columbia River Gorge........April 12, 2015.

Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

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.

Fernleaf Desert Parsley: Lomatium dissectum var. multifidum

The photo above shows the newly emerged leaves of fern-leaf desert parsley (variety multifidum) as seen along the east bank of the Deschutes River about 1 mile above its junction with the Columbia River.............March 6, 2005. Note the long, narrow leaf segments of this variety.

Leaf of Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium: Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum (Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta)

Leaves of the fern-leaf desert parsley

Paul Slichter