Lomatium erythrocarpum

Common Names:
red-fruited desert-parsely, red-fruited lomatium
Meinke & Constance
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs

The conservation of Lomatium erythrocarpum is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


Few people have ever seen this diminutive plant that grows high in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. Lomatium erythrocarpum, with its dull olive-green leaves is easily overlooked except when in flower or fruit (Meinke 1987). The small clusters of flowers are mostly white or purplish, with flecks of reddish-purple and the fruit are large (one third of an inch long) and reddish. Without these clues, few would notice the tiny plant that is only 0.8-2.8 in (2-7 cm) tall, including the flowering stalk (Meinke and Constance 1984). The leaves of this plant grow very close to the ground and are highly divided. This may help to raise the leaf temperature above the air temperature, and to increase photosynthetic rates and respiration (Meinke and Constance 1984), all of which enable it to grow high in the mountains. This is the only species of Lomatium in the Pacific Northwest that grows on south-facing slopes at high elevations.

The plant was removed from the federal endangered/threatened candidate list in 1996. Despite its rarity and limited distribution, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not feel that the threats to this species were great enough to warrant protection (USFWS 1996). The primary threats are from herbivory and trampling by introduced Rocky Mountain goats. Archeological evidence shows that Rocky Mountain goats lived in Oregon (the Hell's Canyon area) prior to European settlement, but had been extirpated by native people. They did not, however, inhabit the area of the Blue Mountains where Lomatium erythrocarpum grows. Starting in the 1950's, reintroduction efforts began, primarily for hunting purposes. This introduced species is now the primary threat to the continued survival of L. erythrocarpum.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research