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Montana Field Guides

Small-leaf Angelica - Angelica pinnata

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Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 4

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Angelica pinnata is apparently fairly common in southwest Montana where is has been documented in Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, and Park counties. Many observations have been made in northwest and west-central Montana, but are likely mis-identified Angelica arguta. Additional data on properly identified specimens is needed to accurately track the status of this plant.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Small-leaf Angelica (Angelica pinnata) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 07/28/2017
    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

    ScoreC - 21 - 80

    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
Stems erect, 30–80 cm. Herbage glabrous. Leaves once-pinnate to subbipinnate; leaflets lanceolate, 2–8 cm long, serrate; only the lowest sometimes lobed. Umbels: rays unequal, 1–6 cm long; involucre and involucel absent. Flowers white to pink; petals ca. 1 mm long. Mericarps glabrous, elliptic, 3–5 mm long; lateral ribs broadly winged; dorsal ribs barely winged (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
MT south to UT and NM (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 39

(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)

Thickets, meadows, often along streams; montane, lower subalpine (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Recent phylogenetic research suggests that the ancestors of Angelica pinnata colonized North America from northeast Asia during the Miocene, between 10 million and 7 million years ago. Sea levels were much lower then, and Angelica crossed over the Bering Land Bridge (Liao et al. 2012).

Reproductive Characteristics
Flowers: Petals are white to pink and roughly 1 millimeter long (Lesica et al. 2012).

Fruit: The fruit may be hairless or minutely hairy and is 3-5 millimeters long (Goodrich 1986; Lesica et al. 2012). It consists of two united halves (mericarps), which are compressed parallel to their common face (Hitchcock and Cronquist 1973). The mericarps are elliptical and have broad, 1 millimeter-wide wings at their edges, as well as less prominent (0.5 mm) dorsal ribs (Lesica et al. 2012; Goodrich 1986).

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

A synthesis of multiple experiments showed that the carrot family (Apiaceae) ranks high among studied plant families in attractiveness to, and increased longevity for, adult parasitoid wasps - insects which can play an important role in limiting pest populations (Russell 2015). Plants in the carrot family have flowers with relatively accessible nectar, a trait which researchers note seems to be generally important for parasitoid wasps (Russell 2015).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Goodrich, S. 1986. Utah flora: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). Great Basin Naturalist 46(1):66-106.
    • Greet, B. J., B. A. Mealor, and A. R. Kniss. 2016. Response of Delphinium occidentale and Associated Vegetation to Aminocyclopyrachlor. Rangeland Ecology and Management 69(6):474-480.
    • Grooms, T. 2009. U.S. Sheep Experiment Station Grazing and Associated Activities Project 2009: Rangeland Assessment Report. U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Region.
    • Hitchcock, L. C. and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle. 730 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Liao, C.Y., Downie, S.R., Yu, Y. and X.J. He. 2012. Historical biogeography of the Angelica group (Apiaceae tribe Selineae) inferred from analyses of nrDNA and cpDNA sequences. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 50: 206–217.
    • Russell, M. 2015. A meta-analysis of physiological and behavioral responses of parasitoid wasps to flowers of individual plant species. Biological Control 82:96–103
    • Stevens, R., E. D. McArthur, and J. N. Davis. 1991. Reevaluation of Vegetative Cover Changes, Erosion, and Sedimentation on Two Watersheds - 1912-1983. Proceedings of the Symposium on Ecology and Management of Riparian Shrub Communities, Sun Valley, ID, May 29-31. 6 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Joslin, G.J. 1975. Behavior and environmental selection by Elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) during surrmer and fall in the First and Second Yellow Mule drainages, Madison County, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University, Bozeman. 65 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Small-leaf Angelica — Angelica pinnata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from