Freitag, 12. August 2011

Plant of the Day (August 12th, 2011) - Pastinaca sativa agg.

So, this time, I want to show you Pastinaca sativa L. from the Apiaceae Family (aka Umbelifferaceae). In English, this plant is known as “parsnip” and in German as “Pastinak”. They are two subspecies or varieties of this plant: Pastinaca sativa ssp. sativa var. pratensis (wild form) and Pastinaca sativa ssp. sativa var. sativa (cultivated form), but I can't say, what I have photographed.

P. sativa - habitus

It's a medium high herb with heights between 30 and 120 centimetre. The shoot-axis is deeply furrowed, wrinkled and a little hairy. The leaves are simple pinnate with 2 – 7 leaflets. Each leaflet is egg-shaped with a tip, a cuneiform base and serrated edges.

As with most Apiaceae, the inflorescence of P. sativa is a double-umbel with 7 to 20 umbels per double-umbel. The petals are yellow. After the first year, the root of the plant is transformed into a yellow, thin beet (which is much thicker in the cultivated varieties). The beets look like carrots. They have a sweet taste and a high content of Vitamin C.

P. sativa - umbels

The plant is native to Europa and was first cultivated by the Romans as vegetable over 2.000 years ago During the middle age, it was cultivated all over Europe, because it's very endurable and not prone to plant diseases. Today, it has been largely supplanted by the potato and the carrot in agriculture but is still a very popular vegetable and spice.

P. sativa - leaves

It grows on base-rich and nitrogen-rich soils and bright places, so it can and be found at meadows but also at embankments, ruderal wasteland and quarries. I found this one at the remains of a demolished house block.

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