Samstag, 4. Juni 2011

Plant of the Day (June 4th, 2011) - Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm. ssp. sylvestris

Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm. ssp. sylvestris belongs to the Apiaceae family (also known as Umbeliferaceae in some literature). In English, the plant is called “Keck”, “Wild Chervil” or “Wild Beaked Parsley” and in German “Wiesenkerbel”.

 A. sylvestris - inflorescences

It's a medium high herb, which can reach heights between 60 and 150 centimetres. The shoot-axis is sharp-furrowed with protruding rips. The foliage-leaves are double or triple pinnate. Interestingly, the bottom pair of leaflets is shorter than the rest of the leaflets. Each leaflet is lanceolate to egg-lanceolate and in turn strongly pinnate. 

A. sylvestris - here you can see, that the bottom
pair of leaflets is smaller than remaining leaflets

The inflorescence of A. sylvestris is a double-umbel. (Umbels or double umbels are a key character of the Apiaceae). Each double umbel consists of about five small umbels. Each umbel in turn consists of between 8 and 15 flowers. The flowers have five white petals; the sepals are reduced and are not often seen. The central flowers are radial, the marginal flowers are cygomorph.

A. sylvestris - here you can see the
furrowed shoot.axis with its rips

A. sylvestis is native to the Old World, especially to Middle Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. It prefers nitrogen-rich soil and sunny to semi-shadowed places. So you can find it e. g. at pastures, meadows or bushes. It isn't toxic but nevertheless unpopular with farmers, because the hard, sharp stems are inedible for the cattle.

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