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Lomatium dissectum - (Nutt.)Matthias.&Constance.                
Common Name Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf biscuitroot
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open, often rocky slopes and dry meadows, often on talus[60].
Range Western N. America - southwards from Alberta and British Columbia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
Lomatium dissectum is a PERENNIAL. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are 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: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms Leptotaenia dissecta. Nutt. Leptotaenia multifida. Nutt.
Lomatium dissectum Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf biscuitroot

Lomatium dissectum Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf biscuitroot
 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].
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].
Other Uses
Disinfectant;  Incense.

The pulverized root has been burnt as an incense[257].
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].
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.
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Lomatium ambiguumBiscuitroot, Wyeth biscuitroot41
Lomatium canbyiBiscuitroot, Canby's biscuitroot40
Lomatium cousBiscuitroot, Cous biscuitroot40
Lomatium eurycarpum 20
Lomatium farinosumNorthern Biscuitroot, Hamblen's biscuitroot30
Lomatium foeniculaceumDesert Biscuitroot, Inyo biscuitroot, Macdougal's biscuitroot30
Lomatium gayeriBiscuitroot40
Lomatium gormaniiGorman's biscuitroot30
Lomatium grayiBiscuitroot, Gray's biscuitroot40
Lomatium macrocarpumBigseed Biscuitroot42
Lomatium nudicaulePestle Parsnip, Barestem biscuitroot42
Lomatium triternatumNineleaf Biscuitroot, Broadnineleaf biscuitroot31
Lomatium utriculatumCommon Lomatium31
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[60]Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest.
A standard flora for Western N. America with lots of information on habitat etc. Five large volumes, it is not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[106]Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Interesting reading but short on detail.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[207]Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers.
A nice read, lots of information on plant uses.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
Tue Nov 14 2006
Lomatium dissectum gave me an awful awful rash.
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
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!!
Elizabeth H.
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 tajeanhu@bluemoo.net
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
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!
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
Joseph Bednaz Wed May 28 2008
Dandelion take with Lomatium dissectum will prevent the reaction you have got from taken it alone.
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
sophie Tue Jul 14 2009
what's the difference from the skullcap herb extract and the skullccap herb?
Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
Tricia Blank Mon Sep 28 2009

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

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