Cous' Biscuit-root
Lomatium cous (S. Wats.) Coult. & Rose
Family: Apiaceae, Parsley
Genus: Lomatium
Other names: Cous-root desert-parsley
Nomenclature: cous = of the Greek island of Cos
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Edible plant
No medicinal data

General: hairless or short-hairy perennial, stems usually leafless, 10-35 dm tall at maturity. Root short and tuberous-thickened to less often more slender and elongate.

Leaves: mostly basal, 3 times pinnately dissected, the ultimate segments elliptic, blunt-tipped, often crowded, relatively broad in smaller plants, longer, less crowded, and relatively narrower in larger plants, sometimes as much as 15 mm long and 3 mm wide.

Flowers: yellow, on final stalks 1-3 mm long at maturity. Rays mostly 5-20, elongating unequally, the longer ones 1.5-10 cm long at maturity. Involucre lacking, the involucel bractlets well developed, persistent, broadly oblanceolate to obovate, 2-5 mm long, mostly entire, almost herbaceous to membranous, often partly purplish. May-July.

Fruits: oblong to broadly elliptic, 5-12 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, smooth or often granular-roughened especially when young, the side wings about equaling or a little narrower than the body.


Dry, open, often rocky slopes and flats, often with sagebrush, foothills to montane zone, in w., c. and n.e. parts of MT. Also in OR, WA, ID and WY.
Edible Uses

The root of cous' bisquitroot is edible, as are all bisquitroots, raw or cooked. It is usually peeled before being eaten. The root can be dried and ground into a powder and then be mixed with cereal flours or added as a flavoring to soups etc. Whole roots were sun dried and stored for future food use by native tribes. They were also pulverized, moistened, partially baked, mixed in water and eaten as soup. When dug up in the spring it has a parsnip-like flavor. The seeds are most likely used as an aromatic flavoring in cooked foods.

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