Tuesday, 28 June 2016

All very umbel

While Ted, the pup, was asleep and unaware of our absence, Tilly and I had a walk along a short section of the John Muir Way this morning.  The cow parsley has gone over now, but the hedgerows are still full of lovely things.  At the moment, there are three other members of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family in flower - hogweed, pignut and ground elder.  This is the same family as carrot, parsley and fennel.  The word umbel comes from the Latin umbella "parasol, sunshade".  Wikipedia gives a good description of an umbel as an "inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks (called pedicels) which spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs". The website does not mention that the young leaves are also edible, and apparently very delicious.  I haven't tried them, and not sure I am inclined to - well, maybe!

Hogweed curls its flowerhead up inside a sort of packet which bursts open to allow its lovely lacy umbel to unfurl.
In the photo below the flowerhead on the left is pignut, and elderflower on the right.
 This one is the flower of ground elder.
We passed some delicious wild honeysuckle, one of my favourite flowers in the June hedgerow.

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