Joan Oudry European class

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Joan Oudry

European class


Family: Apiaceae



Division: Magnoliophyta (the flowering plants)

Class: Magnoliopsida (the Dicots)

Subclass: Rosidae or Dicotyledonae

Order: Apiale

Family: Apiaceae

2850 species and 420 genera



Herbs (mostly), or shrubs (some), or ‘arborescent’, or trees (few)

Switch-plants (occasionally), or ‘normal’ plants

Annual, or biennial, or perennial;

It can grow on various type of substrate


Leaf arrangement: the leaves are nearly always alternate

Leaf type: the leaves are pinnately or palmately compound .

: Stipules are absent except in the subfamily Hydrocotyloidae

The leaves are petiolate, or perfoliate (Bupleurum). Petiole are more or less sheathing and often inflated.

The leaves are aromatic, or foetid, or without marked odour (rarely)


Flowers are always aggregated in ‘inflorescences’

The type of inflorescence is indeterminate: Flowers are aggregated in umbels (nearly always), or in heads.

Eryngium foetidum. This genus has the flowers in heads rather than umbels


The flowers are hermaphrodite, typically small, mostly bisexual, mostly actinomorphic and the peripheral flowers have enlarged petals directed away from the center of the inflorescence.

Coriandrum sativum, coriander. Notice that the peripheral flowers have one or two petals enlarged and directed away from the center of the umbel.

The fruits provide coriander seed used in flavoring. The plant was recorded in the medical Papyrus of Thebes in 1552 BC.

Floral formulas:

The calyx is reduced to 5 tooth-like sepals around the summit of the ovary or may even be obsolete.

The corolla consists of 5 distinct, typically inflexed petals or rarely is lacking.

The androecium comprises 5 distinct stamens arising from an epigynous nectary disk.

Cicuta douglasii, water hemlock. Notice the 5 distinct petals of the corolla and stamens of the androecium, and the fleshy nectary disk and stylopodium around the base of the 2 styles in each flower.

The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 2 carpels, 2 styles borne on an enlarged stylopodium

Ovary position: an inferior-epigynous ovary with 2 locules, each containing a single pendulous, apical-axile ovule.


The fruit is non-fleshy and schizocarp. 1-seeded

Fruit of Heracleum sphondylium


The Apiaceae are cosmopolitain (from frigid zone to tropical) , but mainly North temperate.

Representative genera and species

2850 species and 420 genera

Genus: Aethusa

Genus description:

Leaves 2(-3)-pinnate. Sepals absent. Petals white, obcordate, the outer larger; apex inflexed. Fruit ovoid, somewhat compressed dorsally. Ridges thick, the lateral narrowly winged; vittea solitary.

Aethusa cynapium

Genus: Eryngium (photo down)

Genus description:

Glabrous herbs. Laeves entire or 3-pinnatisect, at least the upper softly to pungently spiny. Inflorescence usually branched; flowers sessile in hemispherical to cylindrical capitiua, at the base of which are 3 or more softly to pungently spinescent bracts; entire, 3- or 4-cuspidate bracteoles present at least near the edges of the capitula. Sepals rigid; petals less than 4 mm, erect. emarginate, shorter than sepals. Fruit ovoid to subglobose, nearly always sparcely or densely covered with scales' miricarps plano-conex, slightly ridged; vitae usuall slender; carpophore absent.

Description of basal leaves refer to those present at the time of fowering. or to the last ones produced before flowering. Descriptions of capitula, bracts, bracteoles and floral parts refer to the largest, central capitulum of an inflorescence.

Genus: Heracleum

Genus description:

Leaves 2(-3)-pinnate. Sepals absent. Petals white, obcordate, the outer larger; apex inflexed. Fruit ovoid, somewhat compressed dorsally. Ridges thick, the lateral narrowly winged; vittea solitary.

Heracleum mantegazzianum

Petroselinum crispum (Prasley)

Uses (economically important species)

  • Important sources of many foodstuffs and condiments: Daucus (carrot), Pastinaca (parsnip), Apium (celery), Petroselinum (parsley), Pimpinella (anise), Carum (caraway), Anethum (dill), Anthriscus (chervil), Foeniculum (fennel), Levisticum (lovage).

Daucus carota

  • Ornamentals: Eryngium, Angelica, Heracleum, Trachymene etc.

Eryngium amethystinum

Angelica archangelica

  • Some with notoriously poisonous resins or alkaloids: Cicuta, Conium (hemlocks), Aethusa (fool’s parsley).

General poisoning notes for Cicuta douglasii

This plant is poisonous to all types of livestock and to humans. Many cases of poisoning have occurred in cattle, sheep, and horses. Humans have also been poisoned by this plant. The onset of symptoms is so rapid that treatment may not be successful


Eryngium giganteum


Let the sky . . . .

Hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes
(‘Merry Wives’, v., 5 - candied Eryngium roots)

. . . Half-way down

Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!
(‘King Lear’, iv., 6 — Crithmum maritimum, formerly collected from maritime cliffs for salad and pickling)

The Conium there, her stalks bedropp’d with red,

Rears, with Circaea, neighbour of the dead
(Charlotte Smith, quoted by Ann Pratt, ‘Wild Flowers’ 1857)

I, with my long nails, will dig thee pig-nuts

(‘Tempest’, ii., 2 - Conopodium majus)

Literature used:

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