Jepson eFlora: Key page
Vascular Plants of California
Key to families | Table of families and genera

Key to Apiaceae

View taxon page for Apiaceae


Jepson Manual glossary definitions can be seen by moving your cursor over words underlined with dots.

1. Flowers in  umbels or heads (spikes or racemes); fruit central axis not obvious

2. Leaf base not sheathing but stipules present, occasionally ± fused distal to  when leaves 

3. Herbage hairs ; fruit not or ±  front-to-back, inflated ..... BOWLESIA

3' Herbage hairs simple or 0; fruit very compressed side-to-side ..... HYDROCOTYLE (treated in Araliaceae)

2' Leaf conspicuously sheathing at base, stipules 0

4. Flowers in open umbels; fruit glabrous, with well-defined, thickened ribs or not ..... LILAEOPSIS

4' Flowers in dense umbels or heads; fruit with scalesprickles, or tubercles, without distinct ribs

5. Flowers , each with 1  ..... ERYNGIUM

5' Flowers bisexual and staminate in same  or  (staminate only), staminate generally long-pedicelled; flowers not each with 1 bract ..... SANICULA

1' Flowers in compound or occasionally simple umbels, occasionally compound and head-like; fruit central axis generally obvious, separate (except Podistera)

6. Annual or biennial, slender-taprooted or roots , reproducing only from seed

7. Corolla yellow ..... ANETHUM

7' Corolla generally white

8. Fruit generally elongate, much longer than wide, beaked or long-tapered to tip

9. Bractlets ; fruit ribs 0 or obscure, sterile beak << fertile body ..... ANTHRISCUS

9' Bractlets entire to lobed or dissected; fruit ribs prominent, sterile beak > fertile body ..... SCANDIX

8' Fruit ± round to  or , not or only ± longer than wide, not beaked, not long-tapered to tip

10. Fruit ± round, not compressed, halves not separating readily ..... CORIANDRUM

10' Fruit  or  to oblong or elliptic, compressed either side-to-side or front-to-back, halves separating readily

11. Bracts leaf-like, generally dissected

12. Herbage, fruit glabrous ..... AMMI

12' Herbage hairy; fruit conspicuously bristly

13. Fruit very compressed front-to-back; rays generally many; umbel dense, nest-like in fruit ..... DAUCUS

13' Fruit compressed side-to-side; rays few (1–9); umbel open, not nest-like in fruit ..... YABEA

11' Bracts 0 or inconspicuous, not leaf-like

14. Leaves generally opposite; rays 2–3; fruit elliptic-cordate ..... APIASTRUM

14' Leaves generally ; rays 0–14; fruit elliptic to narrowly ovate

15. Petal tips narrowed, incurved; fruit prickly throughout or only on outer half; herbage hairy ..... TORILIS

15' Petal tips not narrowed, not incurved; fruit prickly throughout, tubercled, sharply scabrous, or glabrous; herbage glabrous or ± scabrous, not hairy

16. Involucel 0; fruit glabrous ..... CYCLOSPERMUM

16' Involucel present; fruit conspicuously bristly or sharply scabrous, at least on ribs

17. Inflorescence except fruits ; fruit oblong-ovate ..... AMMOSELINUM

17' Inflorescence except fruits glabrous; fruit wide-ovate ..... SPERMOLEPIS

6' Perennial herb or biennial, from taproot or from persistent underground structures, not reproducing only from seed

18. Plant glabrous; generally in flooded to wet or moist (dry) soil

19. Stem generally conspicuously purple-spotted or -streaked; herbage musty-scented; fruit oil tubes not apparent ..... CONIUM (2)

19' Stem green or occasionally ± purple, unspotted; herbage not musty-scented; fruit oil tubes apparent

20. Stem from well-developed single or clustered tubers, or clustered, fibrous roots, generally not rooting at proximal 

21. Plant rhizomatous; sap from  becoming ± red-brown in air ..... CICUTA

21' Plant not rhizomatous; sap from rhizome not changing color in air

22. Calyx  a persistent crown on fruit; fruit corky; fruit central axis not obvious ..... OENANTHE (2)

22' Calyx lobes evident but not a persistent crown on fruit; fruit not evidently corky; fruit central axis an apparent, separate structure

23. Fruit very compressed front-to-back, marginal ribs wide, thin-winged ..... OXYPOLIS

23' Fruit ± or not compressed side-to-side, ribs ± equal, thread-like to prominent but not clearly winged ..... PERIDERIDIA

20' Stem generally from stout taproot, or generally rooting at proximal nodes or along rhizomesstolons

24. Calyx lobes a persistent crown on fruit; fruit central axis not obvious ..... OENANTHE (2)

24' Calyx lobes 0 or minute, generally not a persistent crown on fruit; fruit central axis an apparent, separate structure

25. Fruit halves not adhering to central axis; bractsbractlets conspicuous to 0 ..... APIUM

25' Fruit halves generally adhering to central axis; bracts, bractlets conspicuous

26. Fruit ribs thread-like, inconspicuous in corky fruit wall ..... BERULA

26' Fruit ribs prominent, corky ..... SIUM

18' Plant glabrous or variously hairy; wet to dry soil

27. Herbage anise- or licorice-scented;  segments thread-like ..... FOENICULUM

27' Herbage scented or not, but not anise-scented; leaf segments wider than thread-like

28. Fruit ribs ± equal, none expanded as wings

29. Biennial of disturbed or cultivated places

30. Stems generally purple-spotted; cauline leaves like ; fruit ribs prominent, wavy ..... CONIUM (2)

30' Stems unspotted; cauline leaves with more, narrower segments than basal; fruit ribs thread-like, not wavy ..... [PETROSELINUM]

29' Perennial herb of generally undisturbed places

31. Plant dwarfed, 2–15 cm; leaf segments not sharply 

32. Umbels not head-like;  inconspicuous, not 1-sided, bractlets 0 or freecalyx lobes 0; styles ; plant  or , not cushion-forming; leaves loosely  or occasionally spreading at soil surface ..... Lomatium fusiformis

32' Involucel conspicuous, 1-sided, bractlets generally partly fused; calyx lobes conspicuous or not; styles compressed, flattened; plants cushion-forming or leaves spreading at soil surface; umbels head-like

33. Herbage coarsely hairy to ; sterile  many, > fruit ..... OREONANA

33' Herbage thinly to densely puberulent; sterile pedicels 0–few, << fruit ..... PODISTERA

31' Plant not dwarfed, 10–120 cm, if < 20 cm, leaf segments sharply serrate

34. Fruit  to oblong, 8–22 mm; fruit oil tubes obscure; roots licorice-scented ..... OSMORHIZA

34' Fruit oblong to round, 2–9 mm; fruit oil tubes evident, 1–5 per rib-interval; roots not licorice-scented

35. Corolla white; involucel generally 0, or < pedicels ..... LIGUSTICUM (2)

35' Corolla yellow; involucel present, generally > pedicels ..... TAUSCHIA

28' Fruit ribs equal or not, some expanded as definite wings

36. Ribs winged at margins of fruit halves, others not or more narrowly so; fruit compressed front-to-back

37. Plant robust, 1–3 m; outer petals of marginal flowers > others; oil tubes extending part-way to base of fruit ..... HERACLEUM

37' Plant not robust, generally < 1 m; outer petals of marginal flowers = others; oil tubes extending to base of fruit

38. Projection at ovary tip small, conic, persistent on fruit

39. Leaf 1–4-pinnately or -ternate-pinnately dissected or compound; corolla white;  herb ..... CONIOSELINUM

39' Leaf 1-pinnate; corolla yellow or orange; generally biennial, or perennial herb ..... PASTINACA

38' Projection at ovary tip 0 ..... LOMATIUM

36' Ribs winged at margins of fruit halves, some others ± winged; fruit cylindric to ± compressed front-to-back or side-to-side (strongly compressed)

40. Plant low, generally spreading, stem generally 0; rays well developed or not; ovary tip projection 0

41. Plant erect or ± spreading; leaf adaxial surface generally glaucous, glabrous to scabrous or finely hairy, abaxial surface not tomentose; inland, generally dry places ..... CYMOPTERUS

41' Plant  or ± spreading; leaf adaxial surface green, abaxial tomentose; seashore ..... GLEHNIA

40' Plant erect, stem generally present; rays well developed; ovary tip projection conic

42. Pedicels reduced to a disk; 2° umbels head-like ..... Angelica capitellata

42' Pedicels distinct or ± webbed at base, not reduced to a disk; 2° umbels open, not head-like

43. Stem base not fibrous; leaf segments generally coarse; fruit generally compressed front-to-back (± compressed to cylindric) ..... ANGELICA

43' Stem base conspicuously fibrous; leaf segments generally fine; fruit compressed side-to-side ..... LIGUSTICUM (2)



Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) . Jepson eFlora, [accessed on ]

Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on .

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