Synonyms: Other names: Indian carrot, caraway, yampa Nomenclature: gairdneri = named after Gairdner Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
General: slender, hairless perennial, with a caraway-like fragrance, 40-120 cm tall, the stem solitary, arising from a shallow or more deep-seated, fleshy, solitary, tuberous root.
Leaves: alternate, several, well distributed along the stem, only gradually reduced upwards, the stalk not much expanded, the blade once or occasionally twice pinnate or divided in 3's, with long, very narrow ultimate segments.
Flowers: white in 1 to several long-stalked umbels, the umbels mostly 2.5-7 cm wide at flowering, slightly larger in fruit, the rays up to 6 cm long at maturity. Involucre absent, bractlets of the involucels mostly bristle-like, up to about 0.4 mm wide, or not evident.
Fruits: almost round in outline, 2-3 mm long and nearly or quite as wide, slightly compressed sideways, hairless, with prominent to inconspicuous ribs. Stylopodium present.
Woodlands and dry or wet meadows, from the plains to moderate elevations in the mountains, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from s. B.C. and Sask. to s. CA, NM and SD.
The root of yampah is edible, raw or cooked. A pleasant sweet and nutty taste, it can be eaten in quantity as a staple food. It is best used when the plant is dormant. The root can also be dried for later use or ground into a powder and used with cereals when making porridges, cakes etc. Yampah was an important food for many native peoples and mountain men. Some people claim that these roots are the best-tasting wild roots in the mountains, with a sweet, nutty flavor, devoid of any bitterness. The seed is used as a caraway-like seasoning, or can be parched and eaten in porridge or used as piņole. Young leaves are edible too, raw or cooked.
The root is urine-inducing, mildly laxative, and has agents that relieve and remove gas from the digestive system, and are healing for disorders and diseases of the eyes. A tea of the roots has been taken to counter the cathartic and emetic effects of another infusion. An infusion of the roots has been applied as a wash to sores and wounds and also used as a nasal wash to get rid of catarrh. A poultice of the roots has been used to draw inflammation from swellings. The juice of the slowly chewed root is said to be beneficial in the treatment of sore throats and coughs.