The flowers of plants belonging to this Family grow in umbels, which are frequently compound, forming umbcllets. They possess oil-tubes - minute canals running lengthwise of the fruit - containing aromatic oil, which can only be seen with a strong microscope.
The style and its stigma develop in advance of the stamens, thus preventing self-pollination. Insects carry the pollen of one flower to the stigma of another, both of which happen to be ripe at the same time.
The stems are generally hollow.
The plants vary in size and color, but nearly all have the umbel form of blossom and the compound leaves. The flowers are so minute that they are difficult to study. A professional botanist said that he had found life too short to spend over the parsleys.
The fruit is single-seeded, like the familiar fennel and caraway seeds which our grandmothers used to take to church in order to while away the long minutes of dreary sermons.
The vegetables parsnip, carrot, celery, and parsley are useful members of this Family. Here, too, belong the anise and cumin, though not the mint, whose tithing has stood for punctilious observance of unimportant "matters of the law" ever since the days of the Pharisees.
Many of the roots and seeds of parsleys, when wild, are very poisonous, and acquaintance with them is desirable for this if for no other reason, than that one may warn children and ignorant persons against them. None is poisonous to touch.