SANICLE

Sanicula europaea

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]  

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZclustered
stem
stem8round

14th May 2011, under Whitbarrow, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A lowish plant, up to 50cm high, growing singly under the canopy of deciduous woodland in limestone/chalk areas.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
A short perennial which lacks hairs. Flowers in small bunch at top of long thin but stout stalk.


15th May 2008, Warton Crag, Carnforth, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Basking in dappled sunshine in a deciduous woods. The stems bear just one or two leaves.


15th May 2008, Warton Crag, Carnforth, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
This seems to be an unusual specimen with either a leaf or an extra-large bract just beneath the flowerhead.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire Dales. Photo: © RWD
Tiny clustered flower-heads have a fuzzy foamy appearance and are widely separated.


15th May 2008, Warton Crag, Carnforth, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Before the stamens emerge the flowers lack the fuzzy appearance. Upper leaves are few and far between, being mostly narrow.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
It may look as though the flower-head consists on an umbel of umbeletts (some of which are branched) but this is not the case. The umbels are all simple, not compound, and on this specimen there are 6 compact umbels.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
There is always a central main umbel which is usually longer than the others and with larger riper florets in it. Any branches also have bracts just beneath the branchings. This example has 5 main rays including the central ray leading to the more advanced florets.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
The bracts are toothed and either 3-fid or 1-fid. 3-fid in the example.


15th May 2008, Warton Crag, Carnforth, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have five petals, which look like they are each rolled up like like miniature newspapers. The stems are finely ribbed. From below it is seen that the flower-heads are hemi-spherical.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire Dales. Photo: © RWD
When the stamens and their fawn-coloured anthers emerge the flowers take on a fuzzy appearance. Note that each flower-head is actually a very compact umbel. This one is covered in 'cuckoo-spit' which is actually produced as a protective foam to prevent dehydration by the juvenile form (aka nymph) of the froghopper which are insects from the Hemiptera order. Grown-up froghoppers can jump 100 times their own length by accelerating at 400g during take-off.


14th May 2011, under Whitbarrow, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The stamens at first are all looped back into the flower head, anthers hidden, before they all stick out well proud of the flowers.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Anthers are fawn-coloured on long stamens. Central flower seems to have lost its petals revealing some short red wiry hooks that will later comprise the fruits with hooked spines. There is a ring of (green) narrow bracts just below the umbel. Beyond that are the green sepal tubes and the pointed sepal teeth cradling each flower (central umbel in the lower half of the photo).


16th June 2010, Bryn Euryn, Colwyn Bay, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Each flower has five tiny sepals behind it. Nearly all the stamens, sticking out well proud of the flower, have lost their anthers; flowers going to seed.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
On the central umbel c. 5mm across, the topmost flower is usually the more advanced; here with its two long red styles splaying apart. The filaments of the most of the surrounding other flowers are bent over with their anthers hidden within the still rolled-up petals; all apart from one anther on the left which has popped out.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Flowers in two sorts: The male flowers are on short stalks (pedicels) but the bisexual/hermaphroditic flowers are stalkless. There are between 3 to 6 bisexual/hermaphroditic flowers in each umbel; the greater number being male. Any flowers with two long red styles must be bisexual flowers


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
An anther, here pale green. Another anther can just be discerned inside a curled-up petal (lower right) on one end of a U-shaped filament. The filaments will eventually spring out with their anthers from the curled up petals as they unfurl themselves.


22nd April 2017, loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Basal rosette of leaves before the stems grow. Leaves rounded in outline with 5 to 7 lobes.


16th June 2010, Bryn Euryn, Colwyn Bay, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
The basal leaves are rather large, palmate, with five or seven deeply cut lobes. There are no stem leaves, just leaf-like bracts beneath each flower head and at umbel-stalk branches.


25th April 2015, Dibbinsdale, Bromborough, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Early leaves wet with rain.


16th June 2010, Bryn Euryn, Colwyn Bay, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Arguable seven lobes here.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The deeply-cut palmately-shaped glossy-green lower-leaves and the small tight, hemispherical fuzzy heads of very clustered white flowers.

Sanicle is one of several members of the Umbellifer Family (Apiaceae) which are atypical of the family. Other atypical members are Sea-Holly (Eryngium maritimum), Field Eryngo (Eryngium campestre), Pink Masterwort (Astrantia major), Marsh Pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris), Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides) and a few other rarer umbellifers.

The only member (at least in the UK) of Genus Sanicula. It grows in deciduous woodland, often on chalk or in limestone areas, and can blanket the ground. It is an atypical umbellifer, with the umbels being very small and compacted. The fruits have hooked spines to catch on the fur of animals (and now the clothing of humans) which aids propagation to more distant parts.

Of all the plants that are hard to photograph, this one surely must win first prize, for it likes to hide in dark deciduous woods whilst enjoying being bathed in dappled sunshine streaking through the canopy. The brilliant whiteness of its small flowers against the darkest of backgrounds is sure to fool even the most advanced automatic exposure camera (mainly because the smallness of the flowers, which fall far short of filling the frame). The manually set negative exposure compensation required is often in excess of the -2 or -3 stops stops that most digital cameras can offer, resulting in over-exposure of the white flowers.


  Sanicula europaea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carrot family8Apiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Sanicula
Sanicula
(Sanicle)

SANICLE

Sanicula europaea

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]  

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