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Fernleaf Desert-parsley Lomatium dissectum


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Fernleaf Desert-parsley
credit: Matt Lavin/CCSA

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Alternate name: Chocolate-tips

Family: Apiaceae, Carrot view all from this family

Description Perennial herb in the carrot (Apiaceae) family growing from a thick taproot with clusters of flowers branching off from stem tops. Stems hollow and may be tinged purple.
Flowers: Very tiny, dark purplish-maroonish (sometimes yellow), dense, round clusters laid out in varying lengths of branched umbels, each one up to 4" (10 cm) across.
Leaves: Fern-like, primarily attached toward plant's base and spreading, with petioles up to 1' (30 cm) long; blades divided into many small, narrow segments.
Fruit: Resemble pumpkin seeds.
Height: Up to 5' (1.5 m).

Flower April, May, June, July.

Habitat Varied, including brushy, dry or woody slopes, roadsides; elevation 500-10,000' (150-3000 m).

Range Native to much of western North America including the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan; the United States from Montana south to New Mexico west to California north to Washington State; Baja California, Mexico.

Discussion Also known as Fernleaf Biscuitroot, the leaves, seeds, and roots of some plants of the Lobelia genus contain poisonous substances and have caused fatalities in humans and animals when ingested. All plants in the genus may contain toxins and should not be ingested.