[Biscuitroots and Desert Parsleys: The Genus Lomatium in the Columbia River
Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Indian Biscuitroot, Piper's Desert Parsley, Salt-and-pepper
Synonym: Cogswellia piperi
The photo above shows a close-up of the leaves and umbels of
salt-and -pepper as seen at about mid-elevation in the Columbia Hills to the
north of The Dalles, OR..........February 12, 2006.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Salt and pepper as seen (left) along Highway 30 at the northern edge of Marsh Hill, Memaloose area of the Columbia River Gorge..........March 2, 2016. The photo at right shows salt and pepper (right) as seen on a moist basalt outcrop above the Klickitat Trail at the Mineral Springs, on Klickitat Wildlife Area lands about one mile south of Wahkiacus, WA.......February 27, 2016. Note the small inflorescence subtended by two small leaf-like bracts on the lower stem on both photos.
Salt and pepper as seen on shallow, rocky soils on USFS lands adjacent to the Wasco County Rock Pit, Sevenmile Hill, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area..........March 2, 2017. Several stem leaves are visible on the central stem.
The photo above shows the tight umbel of salt
and pepper as seen atop the Dalles Mt., Columbia River Gorge............March
The photo above shows salt-and-pepper as seen on basalt outcrops
along the old highway about one mile east of Celilo, OR...........February
The photo above shows a close-up of the umbel of salt and pepper as seen in the Columbia Hills several miles north of The Dalles, OR...........April 7, 2007.
Glabrous fruits of salt and pepper as seen along the Bickleton Highway east of Rock Creek, Klickitat County, WA...........May 17, 2014.
Salt and pepper as seen at left on open slopes uphill to the east of Canyon Creek, Klickitat Wildlife Area..........March 1, 2015. Salt and pepper as seen at right in lithosol soils at the Klickitat Breaks, Klickitat Wildlife Area.......April 2, 2017. The stem leaf is at the base of the small inflorescence at the base of the stem, partly hidden by the basal leaves in this case.
The photo above shows salt and pepper as seen in the Columbia Hills several miles north of The Dalles, OR............February 16, 2007.