View Full Version : Apiaceae, Umbelliferae; Plant ID?

04-21-2010, 08:22 AM
Okay, so a few weeks ago I pulled up a plant that looked an aweful lot like poison hemlock except for two things: The stems are hairy / pubescent, and the stem is purple striped, not spotted / mottled. I took it to the County Extension Office for proper ID and never got a response.. soo I'm bringing it to the pros.

So I've been doing some digging through pictures at the Texas A&M University (http://botany.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/cgi/gallery_query?q=apiaceae) and came across this plant: Anthriscus caucalis (http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&where-lifeform=any&rel-taxon=equals&where-taxon=Anthriscus+caucalis) or Bur-Chervil.

It looks identical to the plant I have growing all in my yard, and I've been trying to locate information about it's toxicity. I'd like to get someone else to confirm this plant ID, and perhaps provide some edibility information about it.
Here are the pictures I took of the plant, and you can follow the link above to see pictures of it in the plant database.




At this time, the only difference I can see in A. caucalis and the plant that I have is the shape of the flower petals. I'm wondering if that is enough difference to dismiss the plant as A. caucalis or not.. It's the most similar looking of all I've found in my search. I'm still searching so I may update this thread with more info or photos later.

while I'm at it I'll mention that the link to the TAMU herbarium above allows an address bar query of plant families, so if you can figure out at least what family a plant is in, you can change the query (the part that says q=apiaceae) to reflect whatever family you wish to look up and it will list all the plants in that family that have been documented. Sorted alphabetically by genus.

04-21-2010, 08:27 AM
LOL.. now I'm thinking it's this one: Chaerophyllum procumbens (http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/species/chpr.htm)

Apiaceae family plants are almost as tought to identify as aster family plants!

Perhaps even this one? Chaerophyllum tainturieri (http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/species/chta.htm)


04-21-2010, 08:51 AM
They look similar but your photos show more tiny hairs then ether example.

04-21-2010, 08:58 AM
The verbal description listed here (http://www.missouriplants.com/Whitealt/Chaerophyllum_tainturieri_page.html) sounds right.. and the pictures look very similar.. I'll be keepin on with the diggin'.
Thanks gryff

04-21-2010, 09:15 PM
speaking of keeping on digging, how bout digging up them roots, one one the main id features of hemlock is the roots, as i 've stated before when observing plants you can't be complete in the id unless you see the roots, also i can't see in the pics but what can you tell me about the leaves are the veins mid rib or between the teeth.

One word of advice on any plant is to try and avoid the "look like" or it matches mostly except for, it either is or it isn't, if it doen't mathc then keep looking, i know my freind i have been there with hemlock, really wanting it to be one thing when it was another, but roots are the key to the id

04-22-2010, 12:41 AM
I thought I had a picture of the root in my album, but I can't seem to find it, lol. I'll take another picture tomorrow. I got a lot of pics I gotta dump off the camera and upload.
It is a taproot with fibrous shoots

The veins are midrib, into each dissection, and also a few small ones (you need a bright light to see them) off the first division. Tripinnately compound, so there is the leafstalk, petiole vein, leaflet rib veins, and tiny branching ones off that. On the smaller leaves, the last set of veins aren't visible.. only on the biggest leaves. Not sure if that really is a good description, but I'm still learning all the technical jargon.

For now, I'm calling it hemlock and every time I handle it, I wash my hands. I'm pretty confident it's not, but I don't have that positive ID on it yet, so I'm keeping a safe distance. I'd really like for it not to be, but It's better safe than sorry! You can't go messin' around with this plant family!

04-22-2010, 09:11 PM
well after thinking about this for a spell, i'm gonna say that this is most definetly not hemlock, i believe it to be carrot.

two experiments if i may ask, one -is the stem solid or hollow
2nd can you take your finger and run it along the stem and get the"bloom" or a white powder on your finger?
if it is hollow and you get a white powder on your finger it might be hemlock, but i will tell ya right now you can't make a plant fit what you want it to be and it being purple streaked and not mottled and most importsntly it is hairy and hemlock is not, now if the stem is solid and the root smells strongly of carrot, well if it looks like a duck walks like a duck it certainly isn't an elephant, see where i am going with this?
let me know bud

04-22-2010, 10:34 PM
The stem has a bit of a pith.. I don't know if I'd call it completely hollow, not like a thistle, but it's not solid either and flattens easily. no milky juices and it doesn't smell like a carrot to me.. more like some thyme or something.. a spice or something sorta familiar.
There is no bloom either and the hairs are actually pretty stiff and coarse, like cleavers hairs.
This is gonna be heavy..
growth habit

digital zoom and a magnifying glass to show the teeny tiny veins in the bigger leaves. and one to show the whole leaf through sunlight.

close-up of the flowers

and seedpods

and root

and stem

04-23-2010, 07:56 AM
Ok. the major difference in C. tainturieri and what I have is the seedpods.. mine have only 2 carpels.. divided like this "(|)"..

this is a tough one!

04-23-2010, 11:17 AM
another difference in A. caucalis is the hooked seedpods. These are slick. Definately not Anthriscus caucalis.

Chaerophyllum procumbens looks right...
From http://www.missouriplants.com/Whitealt/Chaerophyllum_procumbens_page.html

This species can be distinguished from the similar C. tainturieri by it's pedicels, which are the same width throughout it's length. The pedicels of C. tainturieri expand near the apex.

For now I'm settling on C. procumbens and treating it as poisonous until I can find toxicity info. I've been looking through pictures till my eyes are about to bleed. Time to get busy.. If you need any more pictures or info about this plant ask away and I'll do my best to get the info you need. This is a really tough one to ID.

Anybody know of a Botanists Dictionary online? My glossary is missing a few terms.