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Greenman's desert parsley

Photo of Greenman's Desert Parsley (USFWS)

Scientific name: Lomatium greenmani  

Status: Species of Concern 

Critical Habitat:

Listing: Greenman’s desert parsley was formerly a category 1 candidate, but was removed from candidate status in 1996 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1996) and is now considered a federal species of concern.  The species is listed as endangered by the State of Oregon and is a USDA Forest Service sensitive species.  In addition, this species is ranked as G1/S1 (critically imperiled) by NatureServe (NatureServe 2008). 

  • Description and Life History

    Greenman’s desert parsley is a member of the parsley family (Apiaceae).  Greenman’s desert parsley is a low-growing perennial herb ranging from 3 to 10 centimeters (1 to 4 inches) in height.  Plants produce several glabrous (smooth and hairless), bright green, pinnately dissected leaves (leaves resembling a feather; having the leaflets on each side of a common axis).  Numerous small, bright yellow flowers are clustered in compound umbels (umbrella shaped inflorescence) at the ends of flowering stems.  Fruits are schizocarps (dry fruits that split at maturity into two or more closed, one-seeded parts, as in the carrot or mallow).  The fruits are initially green, drying brown and approximately 0.5 centimeters (0.2 inches) in length.  The plant blooms in July and fruits in August.  Look-alikes are Cymopterus spp., Lomatium cusickii, and Lomatium oreganum.


    This species occurs between approximately 2,365 and 2,620 meters (7,759 to 8,596 feet) in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon (Wallowa County).  The subalpine habitats occupied by this species consist of meadows or rocky outcroppings dotted with islands of subalpine fir-white bark pine (Abies lasiocarpa-Pinus albicaulis).  In addition, plants that live in the same habitat include a heterogeneous mix of boreal, northwest regional and locally endemic species of perennial herbs, mosses and lichens.

    Reasons for Decline

    Due to its restricted range and specific habitat requirements, Greenman’s desert parsley is highly vulnerable to human disturbance.  The existing and potential threats to the known populations of this species include: recreational user impacts, grazing, fire, hybridization, disease, invasive plant introduction and establishment, Forest Service management actions (trails maintenance, fuels projects, etc.), operational activities of the Wallowa Lake Tramway, and monitoring impacts.

    In 1999, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest developed a Conservation Strategy to address threats and to recommend conservation actions that would protect Greenman’s desert parsley populations on Mount Howard and Ruby Peak.  In the same year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Forest Service signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) for this species to implement those actions.  The original Candidate Conservation Agreement expired on September 23, 2004, and was updated in September 2007.  The primary purpose of this CCA is to ensure the long-term conservation of this species through implementation of conservation actions and minimization of threats through an adaptive management process. This CCA promotes the implementation of the conservation action items identified in the Conservation Strategy for Greenman’s desert parsley.  This agreement focuses on actions to protect and enhance habitat for Greenman’s desert parsley and identifies the commitments of the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure the long-term conservation of the species.


    The plant was first collected by William C. Cusick on August 4, 1900, from the “head of Keystone Creek, 9000 ft, in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon.”  Cusick’s collection, which serves as the type specimen, was described as Greenman’s lomatium in 1938 in a monographic study of the genus.  The species was known only from the type locality when described.  Keystone Creek is an Oregon place name not found on current maps and efforts to determine the type locality have not been successful.

    Greenman’s desert parsley is endemic to subalpine meadows and rocky outcrops in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon.  Currently, there are three documented populations: Mount Howard, Ruby Peak and Redmont Peak. All three occur within the Eagle Cap Ranger District of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  The largest population, consisting of several subpopulations, is found at the summit of Mount Howard and vicinity. 

    References and Links

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996.  Notice of reclassification of 96 candidate taxa.  Federal Register 61(40):7457-7463.

    NatureServe.  2008.  NatureServe ExplorerLomatium greenmanii profile. 

    ZipCodeZoo. 2008.


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