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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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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.


Perennial, nearly glabrous to hairy; roots thick, clustered, licorice-scented
Stem branched, leafy
Leaf: blade oblong to triangular-ovate, 2-pinnate or ternate-pinnate or 2–3-ternate, leaflets lanceolate to round
Inflorescence: umbels compound; bracts 0; bractlets 0–several and conspicuous; rays, pedicels few, spreading-ascending to spreading
Flower: calyx lobes 0; petals obovate, white, purple, or greenish yellow (white), tips narrowed; disk sometimes present
Fruit linear to oblong, cylindric to club-shaped, slightly compressed side-to-side, bristly to glabrous; base obtuse or long-tapered into tail, tip tapered into beak or obtuse; ribs thread-like; oil tubes per rib-interval obscure; fruit axis divided in upper 1/2
Seed: face concave or grooved
Species in genus: ± 10 species: Am, e&s Asia
Etymology: (Greek: sweet root)
Reference: [Lowry & Jones 1985 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 71:1128–1171]


O. brachypoda Torr.

Plant 3–8 dm, finely hairy
Leaf: petiole 5–20 cm; blade 1–2 dm, ovate to triangular-ovate, 2–3-ternate, leaflets 2–8 cm, ovate, serrate to irregularly cut or pinnately lobed
Inflorescence: peduncle 9–20 cm; bractlets 2–6, 2–10 mm, linear to lanceolate; rays 2–5, 3.5–12 cm, spreading-ascending; pedicels 1–5 mm
Flower: corolla greenish yellow; styles generally < 1 mm; disk often conspicuous
Fruit 12–20 mm, oblong-fusiform; tail 1–4 mm; beak slender; ribs bristly
Chromosomes: 2n=22
Ecology: Moist ravines, coniferous forests, woodlands
Elevation: 200–2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: c&s Sierra Nevada Foothills, Tehachapi Mountain Area, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: c Arizona

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