Lomatium gormanii

Lomatium gormanii, commonly known as Salt and Pepper.

Name: Salt and Pepper

Scientific Name: Lomatium gormanii

Three weeks ago I was telling someone it was getting hard to find an early blooming flower that I hadn’t already written about. Only two days later I found myself near the west edge of Pendleton, surrounded by this little member of the carrot plant family that I had only seen once before. Finding this plant in bloom this late in the year is very unusual, as it normally blooms from January to early March. Two weeks after finding the plant it had already gone to seed. The late bloom of this plant is a good example of how abnormal our spring weather has been.

The common name, Salt and Pepper, is evident if you look at the cluster of flowers at the tip of the stem. The clusters are about a half inch across, and are three times divided into tiny clusters that each have about a dozen tiny white flowers and each flower with a black dot which is the pistil. The plant usually has a single leaf that is cleft three times into many linear leaflets.

Where to find: I drove up Cabbage Hill this week to check out the plants up there. I found only four species of plants in bloom, Blue-eyed Grass, Yellow Bells, Dog-toothed Lily, and Smooth Buttercup. Usually I’d expect to find many more species blooming and all of them in greater numbers. It is too late to view this unique Lomatium. Even at higher elevations in the Blues one won’t find it as it is not found in the Blues much higher than halfway up Cabbage Hill. If you’re desperate for a spring wildflower fix, Umatilla Forks would be good, but I’d not advise it due to the recent flooding. Hat Rock or the Twin Sisters on the Columbia might be the best bet.

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Bruce Barnes’ extensive collection of Eastern Oregon flora can be found at http://flora-id.org. Reach him at flora.id@wtechlink.us

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