Apiaceae

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Including:

For complete list, see List of Apiaceae genera.

The Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (both names are allowed by the ICBN) is a family of usually aromatic plants with hollow stems, commonly known as umbellifers. It includes angelica, anise, arracacha, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, centella asiatica, chervil, cicely, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, hemlock, lovage, Queen Anne's Lace, parsley, parsnip, sea holly, the now extinct silphium, and other relatives. It is a large family with about 300 genera and more than 3,000 species. The earlier name Umbelliferae derives from the inflorescence being generally in the form of a compound "umbel", and has the same root as the word "umbrella". The botanical subspeciality that studies Apiaceae is sometimes called sciadophytography.

Contents

Description

The small flowers are radially symmetrical with 5 small sepals, 5 petals and 5 stamens.

The family includes some highly toxic plants, such as hemlock. Many plants in this family, such as wild carrot, have estrogenic properties and have been used as folk medicine for birth control. Most notable for this use is the extinct giant fennel, silphium. The cultivated plants in this category are almost all considered good companion plants, as the umbrella of tiny flowers attracts omnivorous beneficial insects, especially ladybugs, parasitic wasps and predatory flies, which then will hunt insect pests on nearby crops.

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