Yampah, Perideridia species

These are late-summer-flowering members of the Celery Family,
Apiaceae. One is the rare Perideridia gairdneri ssp. gairdneri, seen on
Point Reyes and in the meadows near the MMWD Lake Bon Tempe and Lake
Lagunitas. It has an edible tuber sought by animals and early native
Americans.  The other, Perideridia kelloggii,  is more widely distributed in
grasslands and has fibrous roots.

Often people find it hard to distinguish these two species of
Perideridia from each other and we should not dig them up to test but
it is simple to tell them apart  if you look at the bracts underneath the umbel.
There are five short, triangular brown ones in the common Perideridia kelloggii and
zero, one, or two fine, thin ones in the rarer Perideridia gairdneri. If you
have a 10X lens, the stigmas are longer and recurved on the fruits in
Perideridia gairdneri but short and stubby in Perideridia kelloggii.
The leaves differ too but are usually withered by the time the flowers appear.

Text by Doreen Smith – Photos by Doreen and Vernon Smith.  Click on the small images to see larger versions.