Chaerophyllum tainturieri Hook.

Chaerophyllum tainturieri plant

Family - Apiaceae

Stems - From a taproot, erect, single or multiple from the base, to +50cm tall, herbaceous, striate (green and reddish), with a slight carrot fragrance, terete, hispid-hirsute, simple to branching.

Chaerophyllum tainturieri stemStem close-up.

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, bipinnately divided, hispid-hirsute. Petioles sheathing at the base, to 15cm long, with a shallow adaxial groove, hispid-hirsute. Blades to 7-8cm long, 5-6cm broad, ovate in outline. Divisions pinnatifid. Ultimate divisions 2-3mm long, 1-2mm broad, acute, elliptic-oblong, often with a reddish margin and a minute orange spot near the tip (use a lens to see).

Chaerophyllum tainturieri leaves

Inflorescence - Axillary, loose, compound umbels of a few flowers. Rays +/-3 per umbel, angled, to +3cm long, sparse pubescent. Involucre of umbellet of +/-5 bracts. Bracts ovate to oblong, green, ciliate-margined (but otherwise glabrous), accrescent, to +2mm broad, +3mm long. Flowers +/-5 per umbellet, subsessile but pedicels expanding in fruit to +4mm long. Pedicels broadening at the apex, not a uniform width throughout their length.

Flowers - Petals 5, white, glabrous, orbicular, acute at the apex, spreading, to 1mm in diameter. Stamens 5, alternating with the petals. Filaments white, glabrous, .8mm long. Anthers globose, yellow, .3mm long. Styles 2, expanded at the base to conic stylopodia, .6mm long. Stigma translucent. Ovary inferior. Calyx tube green, glabrous, 1.5-2mm long in flower, accrescent, quickly expanding in fruit. Calyx lobes wanting. Fruits glabrous (or rarely with small hairs), to +5mm long, ribbed.

Chaerophyllum tainturieri flowersCalyx tubes.

Chaerophyllum tainturieri flowersFlowers.

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Rocky open glades, fallow fields, waste ground, roadsides.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This little species can be found in the southern half of Missouri. The plant is weedy in habit and is often overlooked because of this. It can be differentiated from the similar C. procumbens (L.) Crantz by its pedicels, which get wider toward the apex. The pedicels of C. procumbens have the same width throughout their length.
Steyermark breaks C. tainturieri into three varieties based on fruit characteristics. I will not go into those here.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-20-03.