Friday, July 26, 2013

Botany picture #89: Hydrocotyle laxiflora

Hydrocotyle laxiflora (Apiaceae), Australian Capital Territory, 2010. In central Europe, nearly all members of the carrot family Apiaceae look very similar: medium sized herbs with double umbels of small usually white or rarely yellow flowers and deeply divided leaves. Easy to recognize as a family but hard to determine to species or even only genus, especially for a beginner and especially if you have a specimen without fruits. Towards the Mediterranean, it gets morphologically more diverse with increasing representation of interesting genera such as Bupleurum or Eryngium. Here in Australia, there are also quite a few unique looking Apiaceae, and it is sometimes even harder to figure out that you are dealing with an Apiaceae than to determine the species once you have done so. Admittedly the genus Hydrocotyle is fairly easily recognizable as a member of its family but it is still interesting to somebody who is used to the Apiaceae of northern Germany. It is well represented in the flora with both native and introduced species.

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