Cymopterus lemmonii

Mountain Parsley - Cymopterus lemmonii
(Pseudocymopterus montanus)
Mountain Parsley
Trail 79, south of McKnight Mountain
Black Range, New Mexico
May 30, 2015

When manna falls from heaven, you should probably just go ahead and eat it.  While walking along the Black Range Crest Trail south of McKnight Mountain on the 30th of May 2015 I spied a parsley and decided to bend my creaky old legs, get a little closer to the flower, and take some photographs.

In my years in the Northwest of the United States I had a fair amount of experience with Desert Parsley and marveled at their diversity.  When I started exploring the Black Range I noted the parsley here and put it on the list for future study.  On the 30th, the future arrived and I had no choice but to bend to nature.  But more of this flower in a bit, for now - the manna.

When I got home and started arranging photos for this posting I noted the bee at the top of the flower, something I had missed entirely in the field.  I have been laughed at more than once for my efforts to capture insects on flowers, I think it makes for much more interesting photographs - but it is hard work. So, coming home to note that I had missed a wonderful opportunity was bittersweet to say the least.  Insects are difficult to parse, to identify them to species is often something that should be left to entomologists.  I was able to key this bee down to the genus Agapostemon, but I dare not go farther - even if I had a better photograph.  The common name for this group of bees is “Metallic Green Bee”.  Indeed.  Perhaps “manna” would work as well.

Cymopterus lemmonii, Mountain Parsley (or Alpine False Springparsley), is a plant of the southwestern United States (Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas) and northern Mexico.  Synonyms for this species include; Pseudocymopterus montanus, Pseudocymopterus tidestromii, and Thaspium montanum.  

Within our region, this species exhibits an interesting color variation in its flower color.  Plants from the Burro Mountains have red flowers while those farther north have yellow flowers.  The petals of the individual flowers fold backward, giving the flower a very “globular” appearance.

Mountain Parsley (Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness) was used as a ceremonial emetic by several Navajo groups.  But it was also eaten by both the Navajo and Hopi; as a green, its leaves were boiled in cornmeal, and the ground root was cooked with meat. 

   

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© Robert Barnes 2018