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

5th July 2014, Rimrose Valley Country Pk, Sefton. Photo: © RWD
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.


23rd July 2015, marshes, Birkdale dunes, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This example lacks the bracteoles under each sub-umbel, but does have the larger lanceolate and 3-fid (trifurcated) bracts under the main umbel, if photographed from an unusual angle : flat on the ground!


23rd July 2015, marshes, Birkdale dunes, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A sub-umbel


23rd July 2015, marshes, Birkdale dunes, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Apart from this being an abnormal example with 6 petals instead of 5, it does at least have three of the originally 5 stamens left on it.


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 Fool's 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 harmaphrodite flowers on the inner umbels and male flowered outer umbels, all Lesser Water-parsnip umbels have hermaproditic 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]