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

Slender-fruited Desert Parsley

Lomatium leptocarpum

Slender-fruited desert parsley on the road to Grassy Knoll, Gifford Pinchot N.F..........June 23, 1991.

Slender-fruited desert parsley at Grassy Knoll, Gifford Pinchot N.F.....6-23-91.

Also known as smooth-fruited desert parsley, this species is a perennial wildflower with one to several simple to branched stems arising 10-50 cm high from a short, rounded or fusiform root, or from an elongated root with several rounded and thickened areas connected by narrower segments. The stems are either largely underground and surrounded by the widened sheathing bases of the leaf petioles or are longer with up to 1 or two leaves. The blades are 9-14 cm long and ternate then pinnately compound. The narrowly linear segments are 0.5-4 cm long and 0.5-2 mm wide. The petioles are 2.2-7 cm long, the bases forming a sheath around the stem.

The inflorescence is an umbel consisting of 8-20 very unequal stems, each supporting an umbelet. These umbel stems vary from 3-10 cm long. The several bracts are linear in shape. The umbelets contain 10-16 yellow flowers. The fruits are oblong-linear, narrowed above with the wings half as wide as the body or less. The fruits range from 9-15 mm long and 2-5 mm wide.


Slender-fruited desert parsley may be found on open slopes, flats, swales and meadows from the lowlands to moderate elevations in the mountains. It is often found in heavy clay soils.


Slender-fruited desert parsley may be found from the Blue Mts. of southeastern Washington into much of eastern Oregon to the east of the Cascade Mts. and south to California. It is found east to Clearwater, Custer, Camas and Owyhee counties in Idaho. It is also found in southern Wyoming and Colorado.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 100'-3700' from near the Wind River eastward to Biggs Junction, OR and points east.

Fruit of the slender-fruited desert parsley on the road to Grassy Knoll, Gifford Pinchot N.F.......June 23, 19/91.

The photo above shows slender-fruited desert parsley as seen at the head of Kiger Gorge and Mosquito Creek, Steens Mt......July 6, 2004.

Paul Slichter