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Family Apiaceae

Synonyms: Umbelliferae APNI*

Description: Annual, biennial or perennial herbs and shrubs.

Leaves alternate or rarely opposite, simple or compound; lamina often large and highly dissected; petiole often broadened and sheathing at base, rarely with stipules.

Inflorescence terminal or axillary, sometimes leaf-opposed, usually compound, or sometimes a simple umbel or head or reduced to 1 or a few flowers; umbels usually with bracts (involucre) and umbellules with bracteoles (involucel) at their bases. Flowers actinomorphic, 5-merous, bisexual or unisexual and the plants monoecious, polygamous or rarely dioecious; floral parts epigynous. Sepals 5 and small or absent. Petals 5, valvate or somewhat imbricate in bud. Stamens 5; anthers 2-locular, introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Carpels rarely 1, usually 2 joined to form a 2-locular inferior ovary; styles 2, free, swollen at base to form a nectariferous disk (stylopodium); ovules pendent, 1 per loculus.

Fruit dry, separating at maturity from the central axis (carpophore) into 2 indehiscent mericarps; mericarps often flattened laterally or dorsally and with 5 conspicuous or inconspicuous longitudinal ribs and often secondary ribs and furrows between them, the surface smooth, ornamented or sometimes hairy; seeds with endosperm, embryo minute.

Distribution and occurrence: World: >400 genera, c. 3780 species, cosmopolitan but mainly temperate regions. Australia: 41 genera, c. 110 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Apiaceae, Order: Apiales)

Text by J.M. Powell, except for genera with authors listed. Tentatively updated January 2017
Taxon concept:

Inflorescences in Apiaceae. A, heads with sessile flowers and enlarged involucral bracts; B, simple umbel; C, compound umbel.

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Coriandrum,    Crithmum

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves segmented by transverse septa2
Leaves not segmented by transverse septa3
2Inflorescence compoundAciphylla
Inflorescence of simple umbels
                       Back to 1
3Flowers in more or less sessile heads surrounded by large or conspicuous bracts or bracteoles4
Flowers stalked, in umbels; bracts or bracteoles less conspicuous or absent
                       Back to 1
4Leaves and bracts spinose, or with prickles on marginsEryngium
Leaves and bracts not spinose
                       Back to 3
5Leaves stem-clasping, simpleBupleurum
Leaves not stem-clasping, deeply dissected or compound
                       Back to 4
6Fruit pubescent to villous, mericarps smoothActinotus
Fruit glabrous; mericarps finely ribbed
                       Back to 5
7Flowers in simple umbels or few-flowered irregular compound or contracted umbels8
Flowers in compound umbels, usually many-flowered
                       Back to 3
8Leaves deeply dissected or compound9
Leaves simple or lobed, not deeply dissected or compound
                       Back to 7
9Fruit with 2 horizontally spreading apical appendagesTrachymene
Fruit lacking apical appendages
                       Back to 8
10Leaves pinnately dissected11
Leaves ternately or palmately dissected or tripartite
                       Back to 9
11Leaves in basal rosette; umbels spreading, long-pedunculate; mericarps 5-ribbedOreomyrrhis
Leaves cauline, alternate; umbels more or less globose, very shortly pedunculate; mericarps of 2 types, tuberculate and long-bristly
                       Back to 10
12Leaves with scarious stipules; plants stoloniferousHydrocotyle
Leaves without stipules; plants with taproot or woody rootstock
                       Back to 10
13Leaves subsessile or very shortly petiolate; sepals prominent; mericarps 7–9-ribbedXanthosia
Leaves with long petioles; sepals minute; mericarps hairy, tuberculate or rarely indistinctly 5-ribbed
                       Back to 12
14Leaves more or less circular in outline or reniform15
Leaves spathulate or ovate in outline
                       Back to 8
15Plants with fleshy taproot or rhizomatous; leaves in a basal rosette16
Plants stoloniferous or erect or ascending with branched stems; leaves not in a basal rosette
                       Back to 14
16Flowers in a regular simple umbel; petals yellow-green17
Flowers in an irregular simple or compound umbel; petals white
                       Back to 15
17Leaves with scarious stipules, partly fused to petiole, acuminate or laciniate above; umbels 4–8-flowered; bracts ovate, fused at the baseSchizeilema
Leaves without stipules, the petiole sheathing at the base; umbels 10–20-flowered; bracts linear, free to base
                       Back to 16
18Leaves with scarious stipules; mericarps smooth to rough or tuberculate between ribsHydrocotyle
Leaves without stipules; mericarps reticulate-patterned between ribs
                       Back to 15
19Leaves in basal rosette; peduncles long, erect20
Leaves alternate on branching stems; peduncles short, often reflexed. (Xanthosa tridentata)
                       Back to 14
20Leaves ovate, obtusely lobed; fruit oblate, laterally compressed, the mericarps smooth or minutely tuberculate. (Trachymene humilis)Trachymene
Leaves spathulate, acutely toothed at the apex, fruit ovoid, the mericarps evenly ribbed
                       Back to 19
21Fruit with a conspicuous beak to c. 7 cm longScandix
Fruit without a beak
                       Back to 7
22Bracts and bracteoles absent or when present few and inconspicuous23
Bracts and bracteoles always present
                       Back to 21
23Leaflets broad-elliptic or ovate, with toothed margins24
Leaflets ovate-cuneate or lanceolate with lobed margins, or linear or filiform
                       Back to 22
24Petals yellow; bracts and bracteoles sometimes present; fruit elliptic, conspicuously wingedPastinaca
Petals white or pink; bracts and bracteoles absent; fruit ovoid, ribbed, not winged
                       Back to 23
25Ultimate leaf segments filiform, less than 0.5 mm wide26
Ultimate leaf segments more than 1 mm wide
                       Back to 23
26Fruit more or less elliptic; mericarps with slender dorsal ribs, the lateral ribs wingedAnethum
Fruit oblong-ovoid or ovoid-globose; mericarps with 5 equally prominent ribs
                       Back to 25
27Umbels terminal; bracts sometimes present; petals yellow or yellow-green; fruit oblong-ovoid, 4–10 mm longFoeniculum
Umbels leaf-opposed; bracts absent; petals white; fruit ovoid to globose, 1–3 mm long
                       Back to 26
28Fruit with spinesDaucus
Fruit without spines
                       Back to 22
29Leaves undivided, lobed or 3-foliolatePlatysace
Leaves pinnately compound, 1–4-pinnatisect or ternatisect
                       Back to 28
30Rays more than 20 per inflorescence; bracts 3-fid or pinnatisectAmmi
Rays less than 20 per inflorescence; bracts lanceolate to subulate, undivided
                       Back to 29
31Fruit ovate, oblong or ellipsoid, more than 5 mm longGingidia
Fruit globose to ovoid, less than 5 mm long
                       Back to 30
32Leaves 1-pinnate, the leaflet margin toothed33
Leaves 2–3-pinnate, the leaflet margins lobed
                       Back to 31
33Bracts 4–7 at the base of the flower umbelBerula
Bracts 0–2 at the base of the flower umbel
                       Back to 32

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