Sphenosciadium capitellatum A. Gray

Ranger's Buttons
Apiaceae (Carrot Family)


Ranger's buttons is a plant that is more typical of the Sierras but is found in the upper reaches of the San Jacintos and San Bernadino Mts and Mt. Pinos.  Also called white-heads or swamp white-heads, it is a tall, stout-stemmed perennial to 5' or so tall, glabrous beneath but wooly in the inflorescence.  The leaves are once or twice pinnate on petioles that are swollen and sheathed at the base, ovate to oblong in outline, the leaflets sparsely toothed to irregularly cut.  The white flowers are in compact but spreading umbels and appear ball-like and wooly.  The fruit is wedge-shaped and tomentose, compressed from front to back, and with wide lateral wings. Ranger's buttons grows in swampy or moist places from 3000' to 10,000' in yellow pine to subalpine forest, blooming from July to August.  These pictures were taken north of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mts.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Sphenosciadium 2) capitellatum.
Pronunciation: sfee-no-si-AY-dee-um kap-it-el-AY-tum.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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