Lomatium columbianum

Columbia desert parsley
APIACEAE, The Parsley family

Another awesome gorge hike, at Rowena Crest. It’s a bit of a drive, but the Tom Mc Call Preserve here is amazing, if your timing is right on. We caught just the tail end of the Fritillaria pudica, Yellow bells. The first day of April, and this windswept cliff top is at its high season.

Many of the plants here are endemic to the gorge. A few were things I’m familiar with from Dog Mountain on the Washington side:
Lupinus polycarpus, Small Flowered Lupine
Balsamorhiza sagittata, Arrow leafed Balsamroot

Besides getting really excited about seeing a new-to-me Fritillary, the Desert parsley was the prize. It’s purple! with ferny blue-green leaves! It’s about 2 feet tall and a bit wider. This photo, which is almost in focus, was taken on the side of a little ledge that was somewhat sheltered. The wind was so constant that all the grasses and flowers were vibrating, and impossible to photograph clearly. We spotted brave dragonflies and daring bumblebees darting along low to the ground, trying to do their work in the less than pastoral conditions. We city folk in our thin jackets shivered and smiled, and took their cue, flopping in the sunny grass to watch the town and river below.

This parsley is so pretty and interesting that I wonder about how garden-worthy it would be, and if anyone has investigated. Certainly it’s represented in BBG’s seed bank? It’s probably tap rooted and would be tricky to pot on or transplant in the garden, but any more so than your average poppy? And wouldn’t it be worth it? If it lives on top of a dry, windy cliff that bakes in summer, wouldn’t it do well on a parking strip? And what about the Balsamroot? Has anyone tried to grow that in the city?

[Note: Obviously these plants are protected and collection of seeds or plant material would require a permit.]

Other neat things I saw:
Vultures riding thermals
Ravens diving into the wind
Wind surfers on the Columbia
Crocidium multicaule, Spring gold
Hydrophyllum fendleri, Waterleaf, along the damp, shady cliff base
Sisyrinchium douglasii, (Olsynium douglasii), Grass widow. What a lovely name for a sweet little iris relative.
Dodecatheon pulchellum, Shooting star

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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