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Foeniculum vulgare

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ApiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb [shrub, tree], generally from taproot. Stem: generally +- scapose, generally ribbed, hollow. Leaf: basal and generally cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, occasionally compound. Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present in involucres or 0; bractlets generally present in "involucels". Flower: many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally +- ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a +- conic, persistent projection or platform at tip subtending 2 free styles. Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves (= mericarps), separating from each other but generally +- persistent to central axis; ribs on halves 5, 2 marginal, 3 to back; oil tubes 1--several per interval between ribs.
Genera In Family: 300 genera, 3000 species: +- worldwide, especially temperate; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); Bupleurum lancifolium Hornem. is historical garden weed; some toxic (e.g., Conium). Note: Mature fruit generally critical in identification, shape given in outline. Hydrocotyle moved to Araliaceae. Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill is a waif.
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: FoeniculumView Description 

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Latin: fennel)

Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Habit: Perennial herb, taprooted, 0.9--2 m, glabrous, glaucous, anise- or licorice-scented. Stem: erect, branched, solid. Leaf: petiole 7--14 cm, conspicuously sheathing; blade 3--4 dm wide, triangular-ovate, finely pinnately dissected, segments 4--40 mm, thread-like. Inflorescence: umbels compound, peduncled; bracts, bractlets 0; rays 15--40, unequal, 1--4 cm, spreading-ascending to ascending; pedicels 18--25, 1--10 mm, +- equal. Flower: calyx lobes 0; petals wide, yellow, tips narrowed. Fruit: 3.5--4 mm, oblong-ovate, compressed side-to-side, glabrous; ribs +- equal, prominent, acute; oil tube 1 per rib-interval; fruit axis divided to base. Seed: face generally flat. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Roadsides, disturbed sites; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, W&I; Distribution Outside California: native to southern Europe; widely escaped from cultivation in western hemisphere. Flowering Time: May--Sep Note: Locally abundant, invasive.
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
Jepson Online Interchange
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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botanical illustration including Foeniculum vulgare


Citation for this treatment: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax 2012, Foeniculum vulgare, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 15, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 15, 2017.

Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
© 2008 Neal Kramer
Foeniculum vulgare
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© 2011 Barry Breckling
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
© 2008 Neal Kramer
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
© 2012 Neal Kramer
Foeniculum vulgare
click for enlargement
© 2008 Neal Kramer

More photos of Foeniculum vulgare in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Foeniculum vulgare:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.