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   Constantine Rafinesque (1783-1840) named the Cymopterus genus, probably in 1833 when he renamed Selinum acaule (a name given by Pursh in 1814) to Cymopterus acaulis. The Greek "cym" and "pterum" come together as "Cymopterus", "waved" "wing", referring to the fruit.

    Intermountain Flora observes that "the taxonomic definition of Cymopterus is a vexed question....  Even the distinction between Cymopterus and Lomatium is subject to failure". Ordinarily one or more of the Cymopterus dorsal seed ribs have wings; Lomatium seed ribs do not have wings. "Cymopterus newberryi completely bridges the difference.  In this species the dorsal wings vary from nearly or fully as large as the lateral ones to poorly developed or even obsolete".

    Click for a comparison of Cymopterus and Lomatium.

   The correct name of the species shown on this page is equally a "vexed question". Some prominent botanists maintain that the name is Cymopterus fendleri, some name the taxon Cymopterus acaulis var. fendleri (alongside var. acaulis), and some maintain it is Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri (alongside four other varieties of C. glomeratus: concinnus, glomeratus, greeleyorum, and parvus). I base plant names for this website on John Kartesz's expert work on BONAP, and John indicates that research shows the best name to be Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri.

   Click for more Cymopterus and Vesper and Lomatium.

This is a native species.

Cymopterus glomeratus
Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot, Fendler's Spring Parsley)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
Above: McElmo Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, March 27, 2005.
Left: Carpenter Natural Area, Cortez, March 11, 2017.

Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri is the most common of the Spring Parsleys in the Four Corners area and one finds it singly or in small patches over much of the high desert. The half-sphere of tightly packed clusters of flowers is typical for this genus and family.

To distinguish among the members of the Cymopterus genus, look especially at the pattern of the leaf divisions, the color and texture of the leaves, the size and shape of the bracts below the flower head, and the flower color.

Also diagnostic is the presence or absence of a pseudoscape (a buried stem-like structure connecting the taproot with the first leaves). Unfortunately since the pseudoscape is usually buried, one would have to dig around the base of the plant (as I did for the photograph at left) and that is not a healthy thing to do to the plant. Cymopterus glomeratus has a pseudoscape and thus its leaves are often flat on the ground and appear to be all basal. 

Glomeratus is from the Latin for "ball", often, as here, referring to the ball-like cluster of flowers.

Augustus Fendler was the first to collect this plant for science, on "gravelly hills, Santa Fe" in 1849. Fendler was a highly respected 19th century plant collector honored in the name of many western U.S. plants. Click for more biographical information about Fendler.

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot, Fendler's Spring Parsley)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
BLM lands near the San Juan River, Utah, April 6, 2005.

After a week or two the individual flower stem (the "ray", top arrow) and the stem of the entire flower cluster (the "peduncle", bottom arrow) elongate slightly in this species of Cymopterus

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot, Fendler's Spring Parsley)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 18, 2007.

The secondary bracts (the "involucels", top arrow) of each flower cluster are prominent, deeply cut, sharply pointed, green, and top a flower stalk that equals or exceeds the leaves in length. 

You can just barely see the pointed tip of the tiny bract (the "involucre", bottom arrow) that subtends the entire flower cluster at the top of the main stem.   

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot, Fendler's Spring Parsley)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 6, 2005 and May 13, 2004.

Following a very moist fall, winter, and spring, Cymopterus glomeratus plant, flower, and seeds will be numerous, robust, and long-lasting. The seeds at left (on a stem (peduncle) about 8 inches tall) matured in two weeks and became as purple as those below.

                     Cymopterus glomeratus

 

This is a native species.

Cymopterus newberryi
Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi (Newberry's Biscuitroot, Newberry's Spring Parsley)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert. Sand openings. Spring.
Above: Valley of the Gods, Utah, April 19, 2017.
Left: Hidden Valley Trail, Utah, May 10, 2007.

In the Four Corners area, this Cymopterus is found just in Utah and Arizona.

Leaves are shiny and at first glance quite similar to those of C. glomeratus shown above but the leaf of C. newberryi is cut into just three leaflets and each of these is larger than and not cut deeply again as they are in C. glomeratus

C. newberryi is a plant of sand, sand, sand and on its often glandular surface one can see sand coating the leaf surface, as is evident in the above photograph.

John Newberry collected this species, probably on the Ives Expedition of 1857-1858, and it was at first named Peucedanum newberryi by Sereno Watson in 1873. Marcus Jones renamed it Cymopterus newberryi in 1893. Interestingly, Jones also named it Cymopterus fendleri variety newberryi in 1908. Cymopterus newberryi does, indeed, very closely resemble Cymopterus fendleri, what we now call Cymopterus glomeratus. (See C. glomeratus above.) 

Click for more biographical information about Newberry.

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi (Newberry's Biscuitroot, Newberry's Spring Parsley)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert. Sand openings. Spring.
East of Bluff, Utah, March 27, 2019 and Hidden Valley Trail, Utah, April 14, 2009 and May 10, 2007.

The flower buds of Cymopterus newberryi are dark brown but open to yellow before fading to yellow/green as the seeds develop.

As the plant matures, the green and narrow bracts of C. newberryi become more visible behind each flower cluster. The bracts of  C. glomeratus (as you can see several photographs above) are lighter green, more pointed at the tip, and broader and united at their base. 

The shape and color of the seeds of the two species are also significantly different.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri

Range map for Cymopterus glomeratus var. fendleri

Range map for Cymopterus newberryi