Perideridia gairdneri

Common Yampah, Gairdner's Yampah, Wild Caraway

Perideridia gairdneri (Hook. & Arn.) Mathias is a slender dicot perennial with small and white flowers in umbrella-like clusters growing to 50 cm or more. Leaves are compound with very narrow segments and usually wither before the plant blooms. 

Yampah roots are either single or bifurcated and spindle-shaped. They are often about as thick as one’s finger, and several centimeters long (Turner 2007:89). Roots have a tough outer covering and vertical wrinkles which run parallel to the root length, with horizontal markings cross-cutting the root.

Cultural Narrative: 

Several interior groups ate the anise-flavored roots of yampah. The roots were harvested at different times throughout the summer by different groups and could be eaten raw, boiled, or pit steamed. They were occasionally dried pounded into cakes or mixed with powdered meat. When boiled, they were often prepared with Saskatoon Berries (Amelanchier alnifolia), Black Tree Lichen (Bryoria spp.), or flour to make a thick pudding. Raw roots could also be stored in earth lined pits. 

Location Description: 


Native to western North America from southwestern Canada to California and New Mexico, where it grows in many habitats.