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Idaho Lovage - Ligusticum verticillatum

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 6

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Ligusticum verticillatum occurs in northern Idaho, western Montana, and British Columbia. It has been found in Lincoln and Ravalli Counties, growing in moist forests and meadows of spruce-fir habitats, becoming common in Idaho. Herbarium specimens from Missoula and Granite Counties may be mis-identified. Current data on locations, population sizes, and threats is greatly needed.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Idaho Lovage (Ligusticum verticillatum) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 09/13/2017
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreE - 5,000-20,000 sq km (~2,000-8,000 sq mi)

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    Number of Populations

    ScoreB - 6 - 20

    Number of Occurrences or Percent Area with Good Viability / Ecological Integrity

    ScoreB - Very few (1-3) occurrences with excellent or good viability or ecological integrity

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce


    ScoreD - Low

    CommentNo known threats.

General Description
Plants: Erect, 1-2 m tall, with branched stems and glabrous (hairless) foliage. Like all Ligusticum species, this plant is a taprooted perennial with petiolate basal and cauline (stem) leaves.

Leaves: Upper stem leaves become reduced in size and have shorter petioles; the uppermost leaves are often opposite and occur below a verticil (whorl) of umbels (which possess long peduncles) (Hitchcock et al. 1961). Leaf blades are subtripinnate. Leaflets are ovate (Lesica et al. 2012) to oblong (Coulter and Rose 1902), 3-8 cm long, and pinnately lobed into 2-5 cm wide, toothed, ultimate segments (Lesica et al. 2012).

Inflorescence: White flowers grow in compound umbels (Lesica et al. 2012). The lowest umbel has 15 to 30 rays that are 4-8 cm long and scabrous (roughened) (Lesica et al. 2012). Pedicels are 6 to 12 mm long(Coulter and Rose 1902). The involucre and involucel are absent or inconspicuous (Lesica et al. 2012).

(Contribution of Lesica et al. adapted from Lesica, P., M. Lavin, and P. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowers May-August (Patterson et al 1985).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Leaves less finely cut than other Ligusticum in our region (Hitchcock et al. 1961). Ligusticum verticillatum can be easily confused with large specimens of L. canbyi (Lesica et al. 2012); however, L. canbyi is generally shorter (0.5 to 1.2 m), and is more commonly found outside of wetlands (Lesica and Husby 2015).

(Contribution of Lesica et al. adapted from Lesica, P., M. Lavin, and P. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Endemic to northern ID and adjacent BC and MT (Lesica et al. 2012).
(Contribution of Lesica et al. adapted from Lesica, P., M. Lavin, and P. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 38

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist forest and streambanks in montane zones (Lesica et al. 2012). Specimens collected in Montana have been found in moist spruce-fir forest, on a southwest slope at Snowbowl Ski Area, and in subalpine forests, at or above 4000 feet (CPNWH 2017).

(Contribution of Lesica et al. adapted from Lesica, P., M. Lavin, and P. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

This plant is rated as facultative-wet (FACW) in the Arid West and Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast regions by the US Army Corps of Engineers, meaning that it is usually but not always found in wetlands (Lesica and Husby 2015). It tolerates only slight disturbances, and grows in a somewhat narrow spectrum of ecological conditions (Pipp 2015).

A one-year study conducted in Colorado on a related species, Ligusticum porteri, found higher numbers and coverage of flowering plants in meadows than in the adjacent forest (Kindscher et al. 2017).

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus occidentalis (Pyke et al. 2012).

Reproductive Characteristics
Fruit: Mericarps (sections of the fruit) are 4-6 mm long with narrow marginal and dorsal wings (Lesica et al. 2012); and a low, cone-shaped stylopodium (Coulter and Rose 1902).

(Contribution of Lesica et al. adapted from Lesica, P., M. Lavin, and P. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The Salish Native Americans of western Montana used the roots of the more-common L. canbyi to treat sore throats (Hart 1979). Western species of Ligusticum are sold as herbal medicines for respiratory ailments (Applequist 2005).

A study in Colorado on a related plant found that most reproduction in one year after root harvesting was from underground vegetative propagation, rather than from seeds (Kindscher et al 2017). That species has not responded well to cultivation (Applequist 2005).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Applequist, W. 2005. Root Anatomy of Ligusticum Species (Apiaceae) Sold as Osha Compared to That of Potential Contaminants. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 11(3):1-11.
    • Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria (CPNWH) Specimen Database. No Date. Plant specimen data displayed on the PNW Herbaria portal. Website
    • Coulter, J. and J. Rose. 1902. Monograph of the North American Umbelliferae. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 7:9-256.
    • Hart, J. 1979. The Ethnobotany of the Flathead Indians of Western Montana. Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University 27(10):261-307.
    • Hitchcock, C. L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson. 1961. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest, Part 3. Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA and London, England: University of Washington. 614 pp.
    • Kindscher, K., L. Martin, Q. Long, R. Craft, H. Loring, M. Sharaf, and J. Yang. 2017. Harvesting and Recolonization of Wild Population of Osha (Ligusticum porteri) in Southern Colorado. Nature Areas Journal 37(2):178-187.
    • Lesica, P. and P. Husby. 2015. Field Guide to Montana's Wetland Vascular Plants, second ed. Helena: Montana Department of Environmental Quality Wetland Program. 119 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Patterson, P. A., K. E. Neiman and J. R. Tonn. 1985. Field guide to forest plants of northern Idaho. USDA, FS, IRS, Ogden. Gen. Tech. Rpt. INT-180, Ap. 1985.
    • Pipp, A. 2015. Coefficient of Conservatism Rankings for the Flora of Montana: Part I. Report to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Helena, Montana. Prepared by the Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 73 pp.
    • Pyke, G.H., D.W. Inouye, and J.D. Thomson. 2012. Local geographic distributions of bumble bees near Crested Butte, Colorado: competition and community structure revisited. Environmental Entomology 41(6): 1332-1349.
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Citation for data on this website:
Idaho Lovage — Ligusticum verticillatum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from