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

10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Sitting very near the hidden shallow water muddy edges of a park pond amongst other water-loving plants. Both the pinnate leaves and white umbels of Lesser Water-parsnip plants are very evident here (not much else of it though).


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 umbellets 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
In the interests of science your Author held one aloft away from the madding crowd so the reader can best see it.


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.


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Umbels quite sparse in number and a bit haphazardly arranged compared to some more symmetrical umbellifers.


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Those umbels which are going to seed are drooping for some reason - they shouldn't be. Maybe its the 5 week dry spell we have just had since it is not just the specimen I broke off which is doing this - the others which are still in the pond are drooping too.


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Leaf sheaths quite narrow and with a purple coloration.


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The number of pairs of leaflets in a leaf usually varies from 5 to 9 pairs (up to 14 pairs on occasion).


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The bracts beneath the main umbel usually vary from 4 to 7, with each being either lanceolate or 3-fid (cut into 3 lobes by cuts up to half-way) or pinnatifid (pinnately lobed with shallow lobes)


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The bracteoles beneath umbeletts can also have either 4 to 7 bracts with each being either lanceolate or cut to halfway 3-fid (top left). The bracts are in the centre. The stems are grooved and hollow. The umbel can have between 7 to 18 smooth (but maybe grooved) rays.


10th July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are either actinomorphic (for the inner flowers) or hemizygomorphic for the outer flowers. Filaments longish splaying out beyond the petals.


2nd July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Displaying the bracteoles below the umbellets and the larger ones beneath the umbel.


2nd July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The 3-fid bracteoles beneath the main umbel - the one on the right the larger and definitively split into 3. The umbel stems are slightly fluted/ribbed (take your pick).


2nd July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The petals have now dropped off and a female umbel with umbellets is turning to seed.


2nd July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The developing fruits in an umbellet. They are between 1.5 to 2mm long and maybe less than a millimetre thick across the smallest dimension.


2nd July 2019, pond, Brabyns Park, Marple, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The off-green (here) mericarps of the fruit have slightly bulging ridges with narrow pale green grooves between. The fruits are on pedicels (stalks) which are between 3 and 5mm long. The white styles atop the white stylopodium splay apart.


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]