Purple Spring-parsley (Variable Spring-parsley)
Cymopterus purpureus var. purpureus
Family: Apiaceae (A Utah Flora - Umbelliferae) - Carrot or Parsley Family
Perennial herbs from taproots; some strongly aromatic; 2” to 10.4” (5 to 26 cm) tall; stems usually stout, furrowed, with hollow internodes
Leaves: basal (or basal and 1 to few cauline mostly on the lower half of the stems); compound
Flowers: 5 petals; 5 sepals or lacking; small flowers in clusters (compound umbel); 5 stamens; 1 pistil; 2 styles; petals yellow when fresh, drying dark purple in age, 5 to 22 rays, rays 0.08” to 3.8”(0.2 to 9.5 cm) long
Pollinators: other species of Cymopterus are pollinated by insects; self-fertile
Fruits: schizocarp; flat and wide with lateral wings – splits into 2 halves, each 1 seeded
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Windows, Fiery Furnace, Broken Arch trail, outside Arches National Park in Negro Bill Canyon
Other: The genus name, “Cymopterus”, is from the Greek “cyma” which means “wave” and “pteron” which means “wing”, referring to its fruit. The species name, “purpureus”, means “purple” referring to the petals.
The family has economic importance because it contains numerous food plants, condiments, ornamentals. There are also poisonous species. Tuberous roots. The family identification depends on anatomical details of fruits and seeds.
Did You Know?
Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.