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Lincoln Constance

Annual, biennial, perennial herb (rarely shrub, tree), often from taproot
Stem often ± scapose, generally ribbed, hollow
Leaves basal and generally some cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, sometimes compound
Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present (in involucres) or not; bractlets generally present (in involucels)
Flowers many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small, atop ovary; 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 on top subtending 2 free styles
Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves that separate from each other but generally remain attached for some time to a central axis; ribs on each half 5, 2 marginal and 3 on back; oil tubes 1–several per interval between ribs
Genera in family: 300 genera, 3,000 species: ± worldwide, especially temp; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); some highly toxic (e.g., Conium). Underground structures here called roots, but true nature remains problematic. Mature fruit generally critical in identification; shapes generally given in outline, followed by shape in X -section of 2 fruit halves together.


Annual, taprooted, ± hairy
Stem spreading or erect, branched
Leaf: blade oblong to ovate, pinnately dissected, segments thread-like to linear
Inflorescence: umbels compound, generally opposite a leaf; bracts generally 0; bractlets few, entire, lobed, or dissected, conspicuous; rays, pedicels few
Flowers slightly bilateral; calyx lobes generally 0; petals white, slightly notched, narrowed at tips, outer > others
Fruit generally ± bristly; body linear to oblong, slightly compressed side-to-side; beak > body, sterile, very compressed front-to-back or cylindric; ribs thread-like; oil tubes inconspicuous; fruit axis entire or divided at tip
Seed: face grooved
Species in genus: 15–20 species: Medit
Etymology: (Greek: chervil)


S. pecten-veneris L.


Plant 1.5–5 dm
Leaf: petiole generally 2–10 cm; blade 2–10 cm, 1–5 cm wide, segments 1.5 mm, linear
Inflorescence: peduncle 1–6 cm; bractlets 2–5, 5–10 mm, linear-lanceolate to obovate, ciliate; rays 1–3, generally 1–2(5) cm, ascending; pedicels 2–3 mm, stout
Fruit bristly; body 6–15 mm, 1–2 mm wide; beak 2–7 cm, very compressed front-to-back, bristly-ciliate; ribs low, wide, rounded
Chromosomes: 2n=16,26
Ecology: Grassy slopes, roadsides
Elevation: 15–1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, especially North Coast, San Francisco Bay Area
Distribution outside California: native to Mediterranean

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