I am about to confess that there is another member of the Umbelliferae family in my garden.
But before I do, a quick review.
In my last blog post, I confessed that I had somehow inadvertently removed, hoed under, or dug up all the dill, cilantro, carrots, and parsnips in my garden in my zealous quest for a weed free garden, and that these plants are all members of the Umbelliferae family of plants.
Now I confess that I planted Aegopodium podograria ‘Variegatum’ in one contained little spot in my garden. What a complete lapse of horticultural judgment on my part! What was I thinking! I was not thinking! It has variegated leaves, it seduced me.
Whew, I feel better already.
You may know it as Bishop’s Goutweed.
And it is invasive and hard to get rid of once you plant it.
And they often sell it on purpose at garden centers as Snow-on-the-Mountain.
And it is also in this same plant family, Umbelliferae. Let it flower and you’ll see the resemblance to Queen Anne’s Lace. (No, don’t let it flower, it might set seed. Just take my word for it).
Anyway, the goutweed is contained, I have confessed, and if I just keep pulling it out, one day it will be gone and we can forget all about my lapse of horticultural judgment, at least when it comes to this particular situation.
Now I have another confession to make.
While it is true that all these plants, including dill, carrots, cilantro, parsnips, and goutweed, are members of the same plant family and all have flowers that look more or less like the common weed, Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota, the family name Umbelliferae has been replaced with Apiaceae.
I hope I haven’t confused anyone by being old school with the name.
We can thank Carl Linnaeus (that's a sculpture of him at the Chicago Botanic Garden pictured above) for the botanical classification system that groups plants into families and sub-families based on their flower structures. I’ve been reading The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf, and apparently it was not so easy for Linnaeus to get people to adopt his system in the early 1700’s because it had to do with s-e-x, male and female parts of the flowers. Scandalous! But Linnaeus persevered and now we have a reasonable, orderly way to keep track of plants by families.
We can also thank modern day botanists for tweaking the system and coming up with new, improved plant family names like Apiaceae.
I have one other confession to make.
I love to study plant taxonomy and figure out which family a particular plant is in. I think knowing what family a plant is in helps in understanding how to care for the plant in the garden and what to expect from it. So there might be “one or two” more posts this summer in which I go on and on about a particular plant family. I hope you won’t just click away from those posts with a “not again”.
But I promise, I will not use the old school names for plant families and then switch to the new name at the end like I did with Umbelliferae, I mean Apiaceae.
Or if I do, I’ll confess it.