CSCH – Grocery Store Botany – Apiaceae family

CSCH – Grocery Store Botany – Apiaceae family


So if you’ve just come back from your wintertime botanizing, And you’re pretty cold and tired, and you just can’t stand tromping around in the foot-deep snow anymore, a great place to go to look at fruiting parts, at leaves, at stems, at all these different botanical parts is your local grocery store. So we’re gonna talk about a really common edible family, which is the parsley, or carrot family Also known as Apiaceae. There’s a whole lot of edibles in this family. There’s also some poisonous plants in this family but not anything that you’d find in the grocery store. So we’ll talk about a few distinctive features of this family before we talk about the individual plants. One of the first things about the Apiaceae, or parsley family is its leaves. You’ll see in this close-up photo here, This leaf is what we call divided or compound. It means the leaves are divided up into individual leaflets off the main stem of the leaf. And you can see with this, that it looks almost feathery Which, the name for that in botany, is called pinnate. Which means feather-like. So along with these pinnate, feather-like leaves Another distinctive feature of the Apiaceae family Is the way that the leaf stem attaches to the rest of the plant Which, you can see this better in the giant specimen, which is this, which is bulb fennel. Now, we’ll show another close-up footage of this, but you can see even from this far away, that the stem clasps around the other stems. So it has clasping leaf stems, Or the term for leaf stems in botany, is petioles. So, clasping petioles is often what you’ll see in the books. The other distinctive feature of the Apiaceae family, or parsley family, unfortunately you don’t see very often in the wintertime in the grocery store. If you’ve ever bought fennel seeds or dill seeds, though, if you’ve ever gotten it fresh, you’ll notice they’re in these flower forms called umbels. You can almost imagine what that looks like. It’s like an inside-out umbrella And there’s a picture of it here of a dried dill seed, or a dried dill seed head In that compound-umbel form But again, not something that you’ll see super often in the grocery stores unless you’re very lucky. So to quickly recap: we have our pinnate leaves, clasping leaf stems, or clasping petioles and then, of course, the distinct seed inflorescence or, excuse me, the distinct inflorescence of an umbel or compound umbel in particular in this family. Plants that are included in this for your grocery-store viewing, include things like celery, our carrots, of course, parsnips, though you can’t really see that with this, fennel and dill. In this case we’ve got our fennel bulb, and parsley is another really common herb that you’ll see that’s in the Apiaceae, or again, carrot or parsley family.

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