WHORLED CARAWAY

Carum verticillatum

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8red
morph
morph8hemizygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZumbel
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8hollow

28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The stem of white-flowered umbellifer is the thin pale-green stalk curving outwards slightly on the left hand side of the middle of the photo. The umbeletts of white flowers are well separated. It grows up to 60cm high.


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The umbels are compound with usually between 8 to 14 smooth rays which are between 1.5 to 4cm long. The bracts beneath the umbel are linear to lanceolate and number up to 10 and are angled downwards whereas the bracteoles beneath the 'raylets' ('flower stalks' aka pedicels), although similar in number, are not angled downwards (although on this specimen there is not a lot of difference!).


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The red anthers number 5 and are in a circle close to the centre of the flower providing the plant with a good signature. The sepals behind the flowers are small and not seen from above. Some petals have slight nicks at their ends.


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The flowers are white and almost equal in size, although the layout is slightly hemi-zygomorphic. Bracteoles on this photo are laneolate and tipped red, that same colour as the anthers, which are on quite short filaments.


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The fruits are 2.5 to 3mm long, elipsoidal and latterally compressed.


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The stylopodium capping the fruit is red (at least on this specimen).


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The styles atop the red stylopodium curve slightly away from each other with the stigma at the tip only slightly wider than the style. The pedicels ('raylets' aka 'flower-stalks') are 3 to 5mm long. The off-green mericarps have slight ridges.


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The leaves usually emerge from the base of the plant (basal leaves), with only few emerging from the stem (as slightly right of dead-centre). These leaves are quite unusual and unexpected, being like the stem of the aquatic plant Mare's-tail (Hippuris vulgaris). They have a round central stem and are surrounded by what look like 'whorls' (but apparently according to the book they are not whorls, despite the common name - although this may depend on exactly what it is that is in whorls...) of needle-thin leaflets angled slightly upwards. A 'whorl' consists of up to 20 sets of leaves, where each leaf is composed of 5 needles in a 5-finger arrangement with the longer in the centre and the slightly shorter at the sides, which are joined to a short stalk before reaching the main stem of the leaf - they are thus pinnate. There are numerous of these 'whorls'. From afar they look similar to the leaves of Yarrow.


28th June 2015, Purbeck, Dorset. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The stems are up to 60cm tall, hollow and round with fine lengthways striations but otherwise looking smooth without any obvious ridges. At their base are usually the remains of needle leaflets which have dropped off the leaves.


Not to be semantically confused with : Whorled Mint (Mentha aquatica x arvensis), Whorled Water-Milfoil (Myriophyllum verticillatum), Whorled Solomon's-seal (Polygonatum verticillatum) or Whorled Clary (Salvia verticillata) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Uniquely identifiable characteristics: the leaves (both the upright basal leaves and the fewer stem leaves) which look like they are whorls of linear needle leaflets not dissimilar to Mare's-tail (Hippuris vulgaris).

Distinguishing Feature :

Unlike Caraway (Carum carvi) which is in the same Carum genus, Whorled Caraway is not used as a spice in cooking.


  Carum verticillatum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carrot family8Apiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Carum
Carum
(Caraways)

WHORLED CARAWAY

Carum verticillatum

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]