Butterfly Desert Parsley (Lomatium papilioniferum)



  • BC: Red – S2 (2019)
  • COSEWIC: Threatened
  • Global: Not ranked
  • Galiano Island Status: Confirmed


The plant is an herbaceous perennial from a long thick taproot. Stems are smooth and hairless and reach up to 50 cm in height. The leaves are mostly basal and very finely cut, short, rough and hairy and the flowers are yellow. It is a strong smelling plant with an odour similar to celery.


Butterfly desert parsley grows on dry, rocky cliffs and bluffs within the Coastal Douglas-fir zone and Garry oak ecosystems; the micro habitats are shallow soils on inaccessible ledges or vertical fissures in rock faces.


The species ranges from southern California and New Mexico north through Oregon and Washington to Salt Spring and Galiano, which is the northern limit of its range.


Urban development which destroys or degrades the habitat is of special concern, along with extensive browsing from wild foraging animals. Introduced species, specifically Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), are the greatest threat as they can out-compete butterfly desert parsley even on the hard to reach cliffs where the plant tends to grow. An additional threat comes from landowners who throw garbage over the cliffs which can cover the areas where the plants grow.

Galiano Status

Populations have been documented along the steep coastline of Bodega Ridge Provincial Park.

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