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Lomatium dissectum - (Nutt.)Matthias.&Constance.

Common Name Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf biscuitroot
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 6-10
Known Hazards Some people may experience a one-time detox rash.
Habitats Open, often rocky slopes and dry meadows, often on talus[60].
Range Western N. America - southwards from Alberta and British Columbia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Lomatium dissectum Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf biscuitroot

Lomatium dissectum Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf biscuitroot


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lomatium dissectum is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.4 m (4ft 7in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Leptotaenia dissecta. Nutt. Leptotaenia multifida. Nutt.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root  Seed
Edible Uses:

Root - cooked[105, 177, 183, 257]. Resinous and balsamic[207]. The root can be dried and ground into a powder and then be mixed with cereal flours or added as a flavouring to soups etc. The roots have been boiled to make a refreshing and nutritious drink[257]. Young seed sprouts - raw[105, 177, 257]. Seed[106, 257]. No more details are given, though it is most likely used as an aromatic flavouring in cooked foods[K].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidandruff  Disinfectant  Ophthalmic  Pectoral  Poultice  Salve  Stomachic  Tonic

Fernleaf biscuitroot was widely employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who considered it to be a universal panacea and used it especially in treating chest problems and skin complaints[207, 257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism, but probably warrants investigation. The whole plant, but especially the root, is disinfectant, pectoral, salve, stomachic and tonic[257]. The dried root was used in the treatment of rheumatism, stomach complaints, coughs, colds, hay fever, bronchitis, influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis[207, 257]. The root was burnt and the smoke inhaled in the treatment of asthma and other chest complaints[257], it was also used as a herbal steam bath for treating chest complaints[257]. The root was used to make a drink that was taken as a tonic to help people in a weakened condition gain weight[257]. A poultice of the peeled and crushed roots has been applied to open cuts, sores, boils, bruises and rheumatic joints[257]. The root has been soaked in water and then used as an antidandruff wash for the hair[257]. An infusion of the leaves and stems has been used as a tonic[257]. The root oil has been applied as a salve to sores and also used as an eye wash in the treatment of trachoma[257]. Some people may experience a one-time uncomfortable detox rash (please research more on this plant before taking it).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Disinfectant  Incense

The pulverized root has been burnt as an incense[257].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

We have almost no information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in much of the country. It can be assumed that plants will require a dry to moist but well-drained soil in a sunny position. This is a taxonomically very difficult genus, many of the species now included in it have at times been included in other genera[60]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 7. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is a tap root similar to a carrot going directly down [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed can be rather slow to germinate, when sown in the spring it usually takes at least 12 months to germinate. Giving it a period of cold stratification might reduce this time. The seedlings need to be pricked out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, and should be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer. Fresh seed can be sown immediately in situ. Division may be possible in spring or autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

NORTHERN AMERICA: Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, United States, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Mexico, Baja California (Norte),

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lomatium ambiguumBiscuitroot, Wyeth biscuitrootPerennial0.8 0-0  LMHNDM41 
Lomatium canbyiBiscuitroot, Canby's biscuitrootPerennial0.0 0-0  LMHNDM40 
Lomatium cousBiscuitroot, Cous biscuitrootPerennial0.1 5-12  LMHNDM401
Lomatium eurycarpum Perennial0.0 -  LMHNDM20 
Lomatium farinosumNorthern Biscuitroot, Hamblen's biscuitrootPerennial0.0 0-0  LMHNDM30 
Lomatium foeniculaceumDesert Biscuitroot, Inyo biscuitroot, Macdougal's biscuitrootPerennial0.2 0-0  LMHNDM30 
Lomatium gayeriBiscuitrootPerennial0.5 -  LMHNDM40 
Lomatium gormaniiGorman's biscuitrootPerennial0.2 0-0  LMHNDM30 
Lomatium grayiBiscuitroot, Gray's biscuitrootPerennial0.5 0-0  LMHNDM40 
Lomatium macrocarpumBigseed BiscuitrootPerennial0.5 5-10  LMHNDM422
Lomatium nudicaulePestle Parsnip, Barestem biscuitrootPerennial0.6 6-8  LMHNDM422
Lomatium triternatumNineleaf Biscuitroot, Broadnineleaf biscuitrootPerennial0.8 0-0  LMHNDM311
Lomatium utriculatumCommon LomatiumPerennial0.0 -  LMHNDM31 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

   Tue Nov 14 2006

Lomatium dissectum gave me an awful awful rash.

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Wed Nov 15 2006

We have found no reports that this species can cause rashes, though it is related to other species that can cause photosensitivity (the sap of these plants can cause a skin rash when the skin is exposed to sunlight). We would appreciate any information other people might have on this plant causing rashes.

wyoladyreb   Tue Jan 23 2007

the following info is a quote from richo cech at horizon herbs--(Lomatium dissectum seeds Lomatium dissectum syn. Leptotaenia multifida/dissecta Lomatium dissectum (Syn. Leptotaenia multifida/dissecta) Family: Apiaceae Wild, celery-like herbaceous perennial native to the Great Basin and other drylands of the West. In nature, Lomatium grows on sunny slopes in rocky soil. Sow in outdoor nursery bed in the fall or midwinter. Expect germination in cold soil in spring. Naturally low germ rate. Plant 1 foot apart. Grows to 3 feet tall. This is our most important indigenous, antiviral herb from the American Pacific Northwest; works where other antivirals fall short. The root is the part used. 30 seeds/pkt $3.95, Open Pollinated Please note: Since many people are thinking that Lomatium is the best protection from "Avian Flu" and other newsworthy threats of pandemic influenza, then I thought to add a little more information on Lomatium history and using Lomatium in therapy. Probably our strongest native antiviral herb. During the last pandemic, first nations peoples were smart enough to use the fresh or dried root of Lomatium and survived unharmed while white folks who didn't know about lomatium did not survive. In therapy, lomatium is best to use with a liver/urinary stimulant such as dandelion to help avoid lomatium rash side effect. The lomatium rash side effect is a bothersome proliferation of raised red spots, not itchy, that usually appears on the torso, and lasts sometimes as long as three weeks after discontinuing use of the herb. When lomatium is taken along with dandelion and at recommended dosage, then this rash rarely occurrs. Meanwhile, even while the rash is doing its thing, the viral load in the blood is wiped clean... Another note: Actually, I'm a little more excited about Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) for treatment of pandemic diseases. My experience is that the root of this plant, which has been used in Chinese medicine for a very long time as the herb Huang-qin, is extremely effective for treating contagious flu-like maladies. There is really no better anti-infection agent in herbalism, to my knowledge. The herb is more effective if grown in poor, sandy soil. Added advantages of Huang-qin over Lomatium are 1) lack of side-effects, 2) quick to germinate and easily grown throughout the temperate US 4) prettier 5) and can be harvested in the fall of first or second year 6) no side effects. Lomatium dissectum seeds Product Details: (sku:plomad) Your Price: $3.95 (per Packet) Category: J-N, More..)-- hope this helps!!

Tammy Hudson   Tue Nov 14 2006

Hi My Name Is Tammy Hudson I am an herbalist in Vermont. For the past few years I have been trying to research this plant. My family has had hard flus for the past 2 years, Finally what I think is in my garden is Lomatium, but am told its not by another herbalist , she says itsPastinaca Sativia which grpows all over our interstates here in Vermont. I need to know what it is I am looking at in my garden, I have dug the root and its a wild parsnip but need to know if its medicinal. Could you please recommend a book with a picture so as to identify this, or could you e-mail me a pictire. Blessing Tammy E-mail [email protected]

P osman   Mon Jul 23 2007

HI. I was only on Lomatium for one week when i broke out in terrible hives. I had huge red welts that covered every area of my body. They were even on my face, lips and in my eyes. i was starting to feel better when i was taking it before i broke out. It's a shame that i had such a strong reaction. As a result, I probably will not be a good candidate for this particular herb. The rash has lasted well over three weeks and still is reactive to heat.

shelley rike   Fri Aug 24 2007

i got the worst rash all over my entire body with a high fever, chills, and my throat closeing up having to recieve immediate medical attention it was awful awful awful!

Joseph Bednaz   Sat May 24 2008

When taking Lomatium dissectum, you must take it with dandelion or you will break out in a rash over your body.

Joseph Bednaz   Wed May 28 2008

Dandelion take with Lomatium dissectum will prevent the reaction you have got from taken it alone.

Julie   Tue Nov 11 2008

This plant is an amazing anti-viral. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A. It grows wild here, and it was used by the natives of Utah and Nevada during the flu epidemic of the 1920's. Those who took it had a higher survival rate than those who did not (Moore- Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest). I've taken it in combination with dandelion root, osha, and devil's club root and kicked some serious colds down. I didn't get any rashes, but did read in Moore that you may get a rash if you do not take lomatium in combination with dandelion root, pennyroyal and osha.

sophie   Tue Jul 14 2009

what's the difference from the skullcap herb extract and the skullccap herb?

Adam Stark   Sun Sep 6 2009

I've given Lomatium tinctures to over 100 people. I've seen the rash in 3. One had a little something on her neck, wore a turtleneck, and kept taking it. One had a tiny rash on her arms 4 days after she started... it was *probably* the lomatium. One had a head-to-toe rash. Severe. Harmless, but severe. I have never seen the rash when combined with "liver cooling" herbs -- i.e. Bupleurum, Dandelion root -- but that may just be coincidence.

Tricia Blank   Mon Sep 28 2009

Lomatium Information Page This website talks about the different uses of this herb.

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