BURNET-SAXIFRAGE

Pimpinella saxifraga

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8cream
morph
morph8actino
morph
morph8hemizygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZumbel
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8ribbed

8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
An upright but daintier umbellifer growing to 70cm. Each branch with a pinnate leaf immediately beneath.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Branches may themselves have branches. The pinnate leaf immediately beneath emerges from a long and only slightly-inflated sheath.


4th July 2015, sand-dunes, Leasowe Lighthouse, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
The slightly-inflated sheaths may turn reddish purple with lengthways striations.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Both umbels and umbellules totally lack any bracts or bracteoles immediately beneath them.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
An umbellule, no bracteoles beneath.


4th July 2015, sand-dunes, Leasowe Lighthouse, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Umbels are compound with 10-22 smooth rays which are 2-3cm long (1-4.5 cm long max range). Umbel about 20-50mm across.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers white without pink tendency.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Two white styles poke slightly above the canopy of the flowerhead.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers mostly actinomorphic; only the outermost may be slightly zygomorhoc (hence the designation hemi-zygomorphic)


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Styles straight and shorter than the petals when in flower, elongating later in fruit before often dropping off as the fruit ripens. Three now-brown stamens can be seen on one flower. Most umbels on Burnet-saxifrage have hermaphroditic flowers (M + F on the same flower).


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Styles splay out at a characteristic angle reminiscent of miniature set-top-box TV aerials from the 60's. Note the characteristic white (at the moment) cap (stylopodium) not present on all umbellifer atop the (green at the moment) double-barrelled fruit also characteristic of umbellifers. Like many umbellifers the flowers lack sepals. Petals hairy beneath (not shown).


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
An umbel turning to fruit.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
An umbellule of fruits. White cap now bright pink. Styles now like tiny burnt candle-wicks.


8th Aug 2015, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The double-barrelled fruit cases still green, but will turn brown and develop more prominent ridges. The fruits are about 2-2.5mm long and will fatten up into a laterally-compressed ovoid. The fruit are on hairless stalks (pedicels) about 5mm long.


4th July 2015, sand-dunes, Leasowe Lighthouse, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
The stems nearer the bottom are slightly ribbed and very shortly hairy. Leaves very variable. The lowest and upper leaves are 1-pinnate, with the central leaves often being 2-pinnate.


9th Aug 2014, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Here leaf 1-pinnate and with narrow but widely-separated leaflets.


9th Aug 2014, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This too is a lower leaf, on a very long stalk. It is 1-pinnate and sharply toothed looking more like those of Fodder Burnet from the Rose Family, hence the moniker Burnet-saxifrage. The stalks have a slightly u-shaped cross-section as viewed from the top.


9th Aug 2014, sand-dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaves here shortly hairy, as is the rachis and stalk.


Some similarities to : Greater Burnet-Saxifrage (Pimpinella major) but that is taller at up to 1.2m, is rather stout with prominently-ridged stems which are hollow (even when old - those of Burnet-saxifrage are only hollow when young) and with 1-pinnate leaves which are very rarely 2-pinnate.

Slight resemblance to : Upright Hedge-Parsley (Torilis japonica) which is similar in proportions and size, but often has pinkish flowers, but the leaves are very different.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : See photo captions.

No relation to : Burnets such as Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), Salad Burnet (Poterium sanguisorba ssp. sanguisorba) or Fodder Burnet (Poterium sanguisorba ssp. balearicum) [plants with similar names from the Rose Family (Roseaceae)] nor to any Saxifrages such as Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Starry Saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris) or Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) [plants from the Saxifrage Family (Saxifragaceae)].

Grows mainly on chalk and limestone in grassy places, and thus also likes old sand dunes where grains of crushed sea-shells (made of calcium carbonate) neutralise the rather acidic silicon dioxide sand grains, making it slightly alkaline.


  Pimpinella saxifraga  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carrot family8Apiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Pimpinella
Pimpinella
(Burnet-Saxifrages)

BURNET-SAXIFRAGE

Pimpinella saxifraga

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]