Apiaceae: Carrot Family – In or near water

Most members of the Apiaceae (carrot) family are characterized by having their flowers arranged in umbels, i.e. with segments radiating from a single point.  The family was formerly called Umbelliferae.  Many have compound umbels.  That is when an umbel contains multiple inflorescences, each of which is itself an umbel.  Umbels may be rounded, flat-topped or concentrated in head-like structures.  Most members of the family have white flowers.  Fennel, Lomatiums, most Sancicles and Tauschia all have yellow flowers.  This page shows plants found in or near water.

Celery / Smallage – Apium graveolens

Blooms:

May–July

Plant Height:

0.5–1.5 m

Flower Size:

Large cluster

Origin:

Eurasia

Habitat:

Wet places below 1000 m

Notes:

Widely cultivated, this is a relative of store-bought celery. The smell of the leaves is unmistakably celery-like, and the stem has the same furrowed appearance. The stem is not eaten, but the leaves can be and are said to have a coarse, earthy taste. Leaves are 2–4.5 cm long and sharply toothed.

Cut-leaved Water Parsnip – Berula erecta

Blooms:

July–Oct

Plant Height:

20–80 cm

Flower Size:

Large cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Streams and other wet or marshy places

Notes:

This is a stout, aquatic plant.  The white flowers are in umbels, with leaf-like bracts and bractlets.  Leaves are pinnate with 7–12 pairs of oblong to ovate leaflets.

Western Water Hemlock – Cicuta douglasii

Blooms:

June–Sept

Plant Height:

1.5–3 m

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Near ponds, streams & seeps

Notes:

Flowers are in a loose, flat umbel.  Leaves are pinnate, leaflets 1–10 cm long, lanceolate in shape with entire or serrated edges.  Fruits are roundish, compressed from side to side.  It is poisonous — said to be the most lethally toxic of all California native plants, even more than Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum).

Marsh Parsley – Cyclospermum leptophyllum

Blooms:

Apr–Aug

Plant Height:

10–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small clusters

Origin:

Eurasia

Habitat:

Moist places

Notes:

Weedy, leaves finely dissected with linear to thread-like segments.  Individual flowers are very small with 5 pinkjsh-white petals.  Inflorescences have no subtending bracts.  Fruits are elliptic to ovate and somewhat flattened.

Pacific Oenanthe – Oenanthe sarmentosa

Blooms:

June–Oct

Plant Height:

5–15 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Ponds & marshes

Notes:

Grows profusely in ponds or marshy areas. Dense umbel of pink-tinged white flowers. Bracts are generally absent but there are many bractlets. Leaves are 2-pinnate with 1–6 cm leaflets with serrated to lobed edges. Fruits are oblong with prominent ribs.