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   Accurate identification of the several dozen species of Lomatium is, according to Intermountain Flora, "notoriously difficult....  Some species are highly variable...." Both fruits and flowers are often necessary for identification.  Intermountain Flora further observes that "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".

   "Loma" is Greek for "border" and refers to the small wings of the fruit.  The genus was named by Constantine Rafinesque in 1819.

Lomatium latilobum (Canyonlands Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park, Utah, April 1, 2005.

Canyonlands Biscuitroot is a Southeast Utah/Western Colorado endemic found primarily in the Entrada and Navajo Sandstones of Arches National Park and Colorado National Monument.  One-to-two inch diameter clusters of yellow-green flowers stand well above the dark green broadly lobed leaves.  This plant is eye-catching, for it is often solitary, standing out against sandy soils, often very close to sandstone fins and walls.

Roots of this and related species were dried and pounded into a flour, thus the common name "Biscuitroot".  "Latilobum", meaning "broadly lobed", refers to the leaf lobes, especially as distinguished from the finely cut leaves of Lomatium parryi below.

The first specimen of this plant was collected by Per Axel Rydberg in Utah around 1900.

Lomatium latilobum (Canyonlands Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Fiery Furnace, Arches National Park, Utah, April 1, 2005.

Lomatium latilobum
Photograph by John Bregar

Lomatium latilobum (Canyonlands Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area, Utah, April 15, 2008.

This eye-catching mound of Lomatium latilobum is about two and one half feet in diameter and a foot high and it illustrates the way in which plants such as Canyonlands Biscuitroot stabilize soil and create micro-habitats.  Such mounds are a common site in Utah's canyon country.

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Upper Mule Canyon, Utah, April 8, 2005 and
Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area, Utah, March 30, 2013.

Since umbels of golden yellow flowers are quite common in the Lomatium and Cymopterus genera, we might at first despair in our attempts to identify the plant at left, but note the distinguishing very finely cut, fern-like leaves, the persistence of leaves from previous years, the height often to over a foot tall, and the (sometimes) red flower stems. Location and blooming time also help to separate the species in the Lomatium and Cymopterus genera. More distinguishing characteristics are noted below.

Charles Parry was a 19th century physician and eminent botanical collector for whom a number of species shown in this web site are named. He collected the first specimen of this plant in Utah, probably in the 1870s. (More biographical information about Parry.)

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Upper Mule Canyon, Utah, April 8, 2005.

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area, Utah, March 30, 2013.

Leaves are divided into fine, pointed leaflets; leaf stems persist for several seasons; bractlets of the involucels can be entire (as here) or divided; flowers fade from yellow to white.

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
Arches National Park, Utah, May 4, 2005.

Seeds are numerous and showy.

Lomatium parryi

Lomatium parryi
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, canyons. Spring.
North Fork of Upper Mule Canyon, Utah, April 8, 2014.

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 Lomatium latilobum

Range map for Lomatium parryi  

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