In the family of the Umbellifers, or Umbel-bearing plants, we have further illustrations of this epigynous group of Calyciflores. One of them, called the Hemlock Drop wort,* a tall perennial herb, growing commonly in wet ditches and by the sides of streams, is a virulent poison. Its root-fibres form thickish elongated tubers close to the stock; its stems are branched and grow four or five feet high; its leaves are twice or thrice pinnated with lozenge-shaped or broadly wedge-shaped leaflets, deeply cut into three or five lobes. The flowers grow on long terminal peduncles, and form umbels as in the rest of this family: that is to say, a number of divisions start off from a common point, similar to the rays of an umbrella, and then bear each of them a smaller tuft which grows out on the same plan, all the little divisions being here terminated by a flower. This double branching constitutes a compound umbel, whereas if the flowers terminate the first series of ramifications, the umbel is simple. The branches of the umbels are called rays, the secondary heads partial umbels, and either the general umbel or the partial umbels or both, may have at the point whence they start a whorl of usually narrow leaflets, called an involucre. In the present instance, which is that of a coarse-growing plant, the general umbel produces from fifteen to twenty rays, two inches long or more, and surrounded by an involucre (rarely wanting) of few linear bracts, whilst the partial umbels have an involucre of several bracts. The flowers are small, whitish, those at the circumference stalked, and mostly but not always barren, while the central ones are fertile and almost sessile. They have a stiff leafy calyx of five short teeth; and a corolla of five notched petals with an inflected point; five stamens alternating with the petals, and with them inserted round a little fleshy disk which crowns the ovary, and from the centre of which arise two styles. The fruit is cylindrical or oblong, crowned by the stiffened styles, and collected into close hard heads, each consisting of two carpels - each having the appearance of a seed and being called a mericarp - and marked outside with five prominent ridges, with a vitta or oil-cyst in each furrow. When separate, the two carpels of each fruit have a general semicircular section; a section of the whole showing an oval figure. Such fruits are said to be laterally compressed, and they separate across their narrow diameter. The examination of the fruit in the ripe state is essential to a thorough knowledge of this Umbelliferous family. A thin cleanly cut horizontal slice examined by a magnifying glass, will show both the outline, and the ridges and oil-cysts. If very hard, the fruits may be soaked in hot water before cutting them.
* Bryonia dioica - Plate 12 E.
* oenanthe crocata - Plate 13 A.
In another example of this large and important family, the common Parsnip,* we have, instead of a poison, a bland and nutritious esculent - not indeed in the wild form of the species, found abundantly in chalky fields and thickets, but in that form of it which has been produced by cultivation. Here too we have a coarse-growing herb, but of annual or biennial duration only, furnished with a long tap-root, which has been improved into the edible Parsnip of our gardens. The stem is two or three feet high, furnished with pinnate leaves, having from five to nine large, sharply toothed, more or less deeply lobed segments. The umbels of flowers are compound, of from eight to twelve rays, and usually without involucres. The flowers themselves are yellow, but otherwise very much like those just described. The fruits however are very different, being flattened from front to back, and broadly winged, hence they appear flat and oval; they have three fine scarcely prominent ribs, and a vitta in each of the interstices, and they separate along their greatest diameter, forming two very thin scale-like bodies. Besides the Parsnip, this family comprises some of our most useful esculents, as the Carrot, Celery, Parsley, Fennel; many valuable medicines, as Asa-fcetida, Opopanax, Ammoniacum; and some of the most virulent of poisons, as Hemlock and Cowbane.
* Pastinaca saliva - Plate 13 B.
The Dogwood, or Common Cornel,* another of the epigy-nous Calyciflores is a deciduous shrub of five or six feet high, found in hedges and thickets in the southern parts of England. It has opposite, broadly ovate, stalked leaves, which are silky with closely appressed hairs while young, and the numerous flowers form terminal cymes of a couple of inches across, and consist of a four-toothed calyx on the summit of the ovary, a four-petaled corolla of a dull white, and four stamens. The flowers are succeeded by globular, almost black, very bitter drupes. This plant affords a capital illustration of a cymose inflorescence.
From these we pass to the Monopetalous series, commencing with a subdivisional group, in which the one-leaved corolla is also epigynous, bearing the stamens.
Of this series we have an example in the Common Honeysuckle, or Woodbine,† which also illustrates the Caprifoliaceous family. The Woodbine is common throughout Britain, in woods, thickets, and hedgerows, and forms a woody climber, scrambling over the bushes and trees to a considerable height:
"Wound on the hedgerow's oaken boughs, The Woodbine's tassels float in air; And, blushing, the uncultured Rose Hangs high her beauteous blossoms there."
The leaves of the plant are opposite, smooth above, and generally slightly hairy beneath, ovate or oblong, the lower ones stalked, the upper ones sessile, but not united at the base as in our other native Honeysuckles. The flowers are stalk-less, forming close terminal stalked heads, yellowish, tinged externally with red, and, as every one knows, deliciously scented, the pale wan flowers, well compensating their sickly looks "with never-cloying odours." They consist of a calyx with five small teeth; a monopetalous corolla with a narrow elongated tube, and a two lipped limb, of which the upper lip has four lobes and the lower one is entire; five stamens; a filiform style with a capitate stigma; and a two- or three-celled ovary growing into a small one- or few-seeded berry.