LESSER WATER-PARSNIP

Berula erecta

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8pink inner8mauve inner8purple
morph
morph8hemizygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZumbel
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8ribbed
stem
stem8hollow
toxicity
toxicityZhigh

22nd July 2015, Old Moor, Wath-upon-Dearn, Sheffield. Photo: © John Phandaal Law
It is hairless and grows to 1m high in or beside marshes, fens and freshwater mostly in the lowlands. Stem branches off with thinner flowering branches in Y-shapes at every bifurcation, with the thicker main stem going the other way.


22nd July 2015, Old Moor, Wath-upon-Dearn, Sheffield. Photo: © John Phandaal Law
The umbels are compound, the umbel usually with between 7 to 18 smooth rays which are between 0.5 to 2.5cm long and with between 4 to 7 bracts beneath. The bracts are either lanceolate, or 3-forked, or shallowly lobed; the lobes being in opposite pairs with a single terminal one. The umbel with fruits on the umbeletts has lanceolate bracts.


22nd July 2015, Old Moor, Wath-upon-Dearn, Sheffield. Photo: © John Phandaal Law
The fork in the branch which leads to a compound umbel (the petiole) is usually longer than the rays. At each bifurcation of stems a leaf sheaths off beneath one of the branches.


22nd July 2015, Old Moor, Wath-upon-Dearn, Sheffield. Photo: © John Phandaal Law


22nd July 2015, Old Moor, Wath-upon-Dearn, Sheffield. Photo: © John Phandaal Law
Lower leaves on a long stalk and singly-pinnate, the pinnules being toothed.


22nd July 2015, Old Moor, Wath-upon-Dearn, Sheffield. Photo: © John Phandaal Law
Lower leaf teeth randomly unequal.


5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
A very short specimen mixed with other plants! Please be careful which leaves and stems the reader is looking at in these photos; Water-cress leaves and stems permeate the photo. Lesser Water-parsnip is the flowers here,which are attached to the thinner stems slating slightly downwards and to the right, with a cut leaf in the right hand bottom corner.


5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
Thicker stems belong to Water-cress. The thinner stem with umbel of small white flowers is Lesser Water-parsnip, which have several, often lobed, bracts just below the umbel, and bracteoles below the secondary umbels.


5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
Bracteoles visible here on each secondary umbel (bottom centre). Your Author is not sure whether the leaves above it are just those of Water-cress.


5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
An umbel of florets from ridged stalks. Main stem only slightly ridged.


5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
Each flower is slightly zygomorphic, with five mauve-coloured anthers.


5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
Short bracts and bracteoles.



Not to be semantically confused with : Great Water-parsnip (Sium latifolium nor with Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) nor with Parsley Water-Dropwort ((Oenanthe lachenalii) nor with Garden Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) nor with Milk-parsley (Thyselium palustre) nor with Fools Parsley (Aethusa cynapium), Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), Upright Hedge-Parsley (Torilis japonica), Stone Parsley (Sison amonum), Corn Parsley (Petroselinum segetum) [all plants with similar names belonging to the same Umbellifer Family (Apiaceae)].

Easily mis-identified as : Fool's-Water-cress (Apium nodiflorum) but distinguished from that by the presence of 4-7 bracts under the main umbel, and by the distinct node in the lower leaf-stalk of the basal pinnate leaves.

It is a sprawling to erect native stoloniferous perennial which grows in or beside shallow freshwater or in Fens or on Marshes and is the only plant in its genus, Berula.

It contains the toxic polyacetylenes (aka Polyynes) Falcarindol (21.5%) and Falcarindiol, and the sesquiterpenoid β-SesquiPhellandrene (17%), β-Caryophyllene (15%) and γ-Terpinene (15%) which were present in the essential oil at the relative concentrations shown. The roots are apparently rich in Coumarins.

Unlike many umbellifers with hermaphrodite flowers on the inner umbels and male flowered outer umbels, all Lesser Water-parsnip umbels have hermaphroditic flowers. The flowers are white, not tinged pink (although anthers are pink/red if seen without the cream-coloured pollen).


  Berula erecta  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carrot family8Apiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Berula
Berula
(Lesser Water-Parsnip)

LESSER WATER-PARSNIP

Berula erecta

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]