California Lomatium

Lomatium californicum (California Lomatium); Photo by Kathy Korbholz

Scientific Name: Lomatium californicum.  “Lomatium” means “bordered,” referring to the marginal fruit wing.  “Californicum” means “from California.”

Family Name: Apiaceae (carrot)

Description:  Lomatium is a perennial that can grow from 1-4 feet (30-120 cm) tall. Flower heads are compound umbels made up of many tiny yellow flowers.  Leaves smell like celery (a cousin that is also in the apiaceae family).  For more, see Jepson’s eFlora description.

Uses:  Native Californians found that lomatium is a multi-purpose plant.  Its leaves and roots are edible, and its roots were used to treat lung ailments and fevers.  Sap taken from the roots in spring was used as a skin moisturizer.  Antibacterial compounds have been isolated from lomatium roots.

Finding it at Edgewood:  Lomatium grows in grasslands, woodlands, and brushy slopes.  You can find it along the Edgewood Trail, flowering in April and May.  See map below.

California lomatium (Lomatium californicum) distribution at Edgewood
Lomatium californicum distribution at Edgewood

Edgewood photos
Jepson Flora Project

Corelli, T. Flowering Plants of Edgewood Natural Preserve. Half Moon Bay, CA: Monocot Press, 2004.
Jepson Manual Online, University of California, Berkeley.

Information compiled by Dave Hershey and Anna Lee