Germinating Lomatium
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Bruce Jones, Factors Labs
Posted on: January 22, 2002

Do you have an info sheet on propagation and growing Lomatium dissectum? Any info you have would be helpful.

Lomatium dissectum, also known as ‘coughroot’ or ‘desert-parsley’, is an important cough and cold medicine from western North America, It requires a cold treatment in order to break dormancy and get germination.

Lisa Li, our seed quality specialist, conducted some trials on the seeds. Here is what she writes:

"This is another seed that we have had problem for a long time and I got them to germinate after I tried couple ways last spring (around April, 2001). The seeds I used for the test were from year 2000 and I got 65% germination.

"You only need to plant seeds in a seed box with soil and cover with plastic bag. Leave them in a fridge for 2-3 months checking periodically for germination. Let them germinate in the fridge, then take them out of the fridge."

Little is known about rearing plants from the seedling stage to maturity. In the wild it grows on dry rocky soil on slopes up to about 2300 meters (7500 feet) above sea level. It is frequently found at the base of rock cliffs and outcrops. From these observations, we believe that the plant is best grown in sloping rock garden-type conditions in soil that has excellent drainage. It may be necessary to add sand or gravel to enhance the drainage.

The plant produces a thick aromatic root similar to parsnip. It may take many years to produce roots of a useable size, which is why there are concerns about the unsustainable harvest of this herb. Every effort should be made to share information on the cultivation of this crop so that as many people as possible can begin to grow it. We invite everyone who has experience growing this herb, positive or negative, pass that information on to us and we will make it available to growers.

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