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   Constantine Rafinesque (1783-1840) named the Cymopterus genus, probably in 1833 when he renamed Selinum acaule (a name given by Pursh in 1814) to Cymopterus acaulis.  The Greek "cym" and "pterum" come together as "Cymopterus", "waved" "wing", referring to the fruit.

    Intermountain Flora observes that "the taxonomic definition of Cymopterus is a vexed question....  Even the distinction between Cymopterus and Lomatium is subject to failure".  Ordinarily one or more of the Cymopterus dorsal seed ribs have wings; Lomatium seed ribs do not have wings. "Cymopterus newberryi completely bridges the difference.  In this species the dorsal wings vary from nearly or fully as large as the lateral ones to poorly developed or even obsolete".

   Click for more Cymopterus and Cymopterus bulbosus and Lomatium.

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, March 27, 2005.

Cymopterus glomeratus is the most common of the spring Parsleys in the Four Corners area and one finds it scattered over much of the high desert in small or large patches.  The half-sphere of tightly packed clusters of flowers is typical for this genus and family. To distinguish among the members of the genus, look especially at the pattern of the leaf divisions, the color and texture of the leaves, the size and shape of the bracts below the flower head, and, of course, the flower color. 

Glomeratus is from the Latin for "ball", often, as here, referring to the ball-like cluster of flowers. Augustus Fendler was a highly respected 19th century plant collector honored in the name of many western U.S. plants.   (Click for more biographical information about Fendler.)

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
BLM lands near the San Juan River, Utah, April 6, 2005.

After a week or two the individual flower stems (the "rays") and the stems of the entire flower cluster all elongate slightly in this species of Cymopterus

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 18, 2007.

The secondary bracts (the "involucels") of each flower cluster are prominent, deeply cut, green, and top a flower stalk that equals or exceeds the leaves.  You can just barely see the tiny bract (involucre) that subtends the entire flower cluster at the top of the main stem.   

Cymopterus glomeratus

Cymopterus glomeratus.  Synonym: Cymopterus fendleri, Cymopterus acaulis variety fendleri.  (Fendler's Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Canyons, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 6, 2005.

Following a very moist fall, winter, and spring, Cymopterus glomeratus plant, flower, and seeds were numerous, robust, and long-lasting.  These seeds (on a stalk about 8 inches tall) have not matured by June 6th but will mature to purple within a few weeks.

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi (Newberry's Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert. Sand openings. Spring.
Hidden Valley Trail, Utah, May 10, 2007.

This Cymopterus is found just in the Four Corners area of Utah and Arizona.  Leaves are shiny and quite similar to those of C. fendleri shown above but the individual segments of C. newberryi are larger and not cut as often.  This is a plant of sand, sand, sand.

John Newberry collected this species, probably on the Ives Expedition of 1857-1858, and it was at first named Peucedanum newberryi by Sereno Watson in 1873.  Marcus Jones renamed it Cymopterus newberryi in 1893.  Interestingly, Jones also named it Cymopterus fendleri variety newberryi in 1908.  Cymopterus newberryi does, indeed, very closely resemble Cymopterus fendleri, what we now call Cymopterus glomeratus. (See C. glomeratus above.)  (More biographical information about Newberry.)

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi

Cymopterus newberryi (Newberry's Biscuitroot)
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Semi-desert. Sand openings. Spring.
Hidden Valley Trail, Utah, April 14,  2009 and May 10, 2007.

The dark green and narrow bracts of C. newberryi are visible behind each flower cluster in the photograph at top left.  Those of  C. glomeratus (as you can see several photographs above) are lighter green, pointed at the tip, and united at their base.  The shape and color of the seeds of the two species are also significantly different.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Cymopterus glomeratus

Range map for Cymopterus newberryi