Spring Gold is a drought-tolerant herb, native to the Western states, with edible roots, leaves, and shoots, and early-blooming yellow flowers.
The starchy root vegetable of this native food can be eaten cooked or ground into flours. The young leaves and shoots are a hardy spring green, eaten raw or cooked. It has been used medicinally for headaches, stomach issues, and more.
CAUTION: Spring Gold can resemble Poison Hemlock in the wild. Confirm identification before any wild harvest.
Spring Gold is one of the earliest blooming perennials in the Pacific Northwest. Its dozens of tiny flowers combine to make beautiful yelllow clusters (or "umbels"). This perennial herb can bring a lush appearance to dryland gardens. Resprouting every spring from its underground taproot, it grows graceful carrot-type leaves. A great addition to any herb patch, or amidst other sun-loving perennial herbs like Fernleaf or Barestem Biscuitroots.
Environment and Culture
Spring Gold's wild home is in dry to moist meadows, rocky hillsides, and bluffs through low elevations in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Its' leaves provides critical early-spring forage for many wildlife species; its flowers attract many native pollinators; and its seeds feed many birds. Its flowers are a primary source of nectar to Taylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) butterflies. It can be found growing in the wild along with many other special natives, including Pacific Madrone, Balsamroot, and Wild Strawberries.
Northwest Native American tribes today still value this special plant as food, medicine, and family. Despite great cultural losses, they continue to work towards stewarding and restoring wild populations, both strengthening the integrity of the ecology and sustaining their cultural heritage and wisdom. These strong and recovering peoples and plants deserve our respect, gratitude, and reparations. (Learn more & how to help on our Charitable Giving page.)
Harvest, Care, and Preparation
If you have gophers in the area, care must be taken to protect roots from predation. Besides this, Lomatium are quite easy to care for, and need very little water. They spread by seed, which can be manually re-planted to increase the patch size.
It takes several years to develop a large taproot. Harvesting the root requires digging the entire plant, and is best done during dormancy of Fall/Winter. The root can then be cleaned, peeled, and cooked like a parsnip. Serve alongside other root crops.
The leaves and young shoots are an early spring treat, easily plucked or cut and added to raw salads or vegetable dishes. Only harvest a few young shoots from each plant each spring.
Native Range: BC, WA, OR, CA
USDA zones: 5-9
Ease of Care: Easy
Deer Resistance: Moderate
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Soil Type: Prefers loose, well-drained.
Water Requirements: Dry to Moist
Bearing Age: 2 yrs from seed
Size at Maturity: to 3 feet
Plant Spacing: 24 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Harvest Time: All year