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 Celery, parsley or carrot family
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Apiaceae (syn. Umbelliferae, from the predominating type of flower cluster)CH. Celery Family. Herbs or rarely shrubs: stems often hollow: leaves alternate, rarely simple, usually ternately or pinnately compound: flowers minute, bisexual, regular or the outer irregular, epigynous; borne in simple or compound umbelsCH: sepals minute or wanting; petals 5, valvate and incurved in the bud; stamens 5, alternating with the petals, inserted around an epigynous disk; ovary 2-celled, inferior, each cell 1-seeded; styles 2: fruit very special, consisting of 2 dry, ribbed or winged, 1-seeded, indehiscent carpels (mericarps), which separate at the base but remain attached at the top to a very slender and flexuous Y-shaped stalk (carpophore) from which they dangle; between or under the ribs are oil-tubesCH.

About 231 genera and 1,500 species are very commonly found in all boreal temperate and subtropical lands, but are rare in the tropics except in the mountainsCH. The Apiaceae is a distinct family, closely related to the Araliaceae, and more distantly to the Cornaceae. The umbels, the inferior ovary and the peculiar fruit are distinctiveCH.

The leaves are exceedingly diverse in size, shape and extent to which compoundedCH. Those of Eryngium are sword-shaped, or yucca-like, often spiny; those of Hydrocotyle are simple and often peltateCH. Azorella of the Andes and New Zealand are turf-like or cushion-like, a xerophytic adaptationCH. Some species of Angelica are immense herbs several metres high with enormous leavesCH. The flowers, in general, are uniform in structure and appearance, the greatest diversity being in the fruitCH.

Economic plants are abundant in the Umbelliferae; between 40 and 50 have been listed by some authorsCH. Various alkaloids and other compounds, some very poisonous, together with many kinds of resins, produced in the foliage, roots or seeds, form the basis of their economic importanceCH. Plants used for food are celery (Apium graveolens), carrot (Daucus carota), and parsley (Petroselinum sativum)CH. Those used for flavoring are caraway (Carum carvi), anise (Pimpinella anisum), sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata), chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), dill (Anethum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulare), lovage (Levisticum officinale)CH. Very poisonous plants are poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), fool's parsley (Aethusa cynapium) and othersCH. The following drugs are obtained from this family: coriander (Coriandrum sativum), ammoniac resin (from Dorema ammaniacum), galbanum (a resin from species of Ferula)CH. From various species of Ferula is obtained the vile-smelling gum-resin asafoetida, used in medicine, which the Persians are said to praise as a delicious condimentCH. Some are grown for food, others for ornament: Sea Holly (Eryngium); Sanicle, or locally Black Snakeroot (Sanicula); Carrot (Daucus); Coriander (Coriandrum); Cumin (Cuminum); Celery (Apium); Caraway (Carum); Goutweed (Aegopodium); Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza); European Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis); Fennel (Foeniculum); Lovage (Levisticum); Angelica (Angelica); Cow-parsnip (Heracleum). Poison hemlock (Conium) is a roadside weedCH.



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