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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Fernleaf Biscuitroot - Lomatium dissectum

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S3S4
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
This species occurs over a wide area of northwest Montana, where it grows on open talus, bedrock and scree. It may over time be vulnerable to displacement by Centaurea maculosa or losses from herbicide spray and drift. Lomatium dissectum is currently not rare, but its status should be reviewed periodically (each 10 years?).
General Description
Plants caulescent. Stems ascending, 15–100 cm from a mostly simple caudex. Herbage glabrous to puberulent, mildly aromatic. Leaf blades 8–25 cm long, broadly ovate, 3 to 4 times pinnately divided; ultimate segments crowded, linear, 2–8 × ca. 1 mm. Umbels: peduncles 8–50 cm; rays ca. equal 2–6 cm long; involucel bracts linear 5–15 mm long. Flowers yellow. Mericarps glabrous, elliptic, 7–13 mm long, marginal wings ca. 0.5 mm long; oil tubes inconspicuous (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Our plants are variety multifidum (Nutt.) Mathias & Constance

Diagnostic Characteristics
Lomatium dissectum should not easily be confused with other Lomatium species in Montana. It could be mistaken with Ligusticum filicinum or L. tenuifolium, which tend to grow in more mesic habitats. Lomatium dissectum has either yellow or purplish flowers while Ligusticum flowers are white.

Species Range

Range Comments
Lomatium dissectum var. dissectum occurs in, and west of, the Cascade Range and in northern Idaho. Variety multifidum occurs in south British Columbia and to northern Wyoming, central Idaho and central Oregon and less commonly to northern Nevada and southern Idaho. It has also been reported to occur through California to Baja California (Hickman, 1993). Variety eatonii occurs from southern Wyoming, southern Idaho and central and northeastern Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and southern California (Cronquist et al, 1997). A distribution map for Lomatium dissectum is provided on the internet (see citation list).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 78

(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)

Stony soil of open slopes, grasslands, thickets, open forest; valleys to lower subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

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Citation for data on this website:
Fernleaf Biscuitroot — Lomatium dissectum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from