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A Description of the Family Apiaceae



This family is also known as the Umbeliferae. Usually herbs, frequently with an erect hollow stem. The leaves are alternate, often compound. The flowers are arranged in umbels and are usually bisexual. They can be actinomorphic or zygomorphic. The fruit is a schizocarp which splits into 2 mericarps. These mericarps are what are commonly referred to as "seed". These seeds are very variable in size and shape and are used a lot in the classification of members of the family. The species are found mainly in the northern hemisphere. Members of this family contain a wide variety of secondary compounds including some poisons. Several members of the family are used as herbs and spices and some are used as vegetables.