This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Herbs or shrubs, rarely arborescent. Leaves usually much divided. Flowers very small, in compound or simple umbels, rarely capitate, with or without involucral bracts. Calyx superior, limb obsolete or 5-toothed. Petals 5, epigynous, the tips usually incurved. Stamens 5. Fruit of two indehiscent 1-seeded dorsally or laterally compressed carpels with longitudinal oil canals; seeds albuminous. This very numerous order offers little in the floral department, but a few are grown for their ornamental foliage or bracts. It furnishes us with many valuable esculents and aromatic spices and a few drugs, such as Carrot, Parsnip, Samphire, Anise, Caraway, Cummin, and Asafoetida. And there are some virulently poisonous, as Corium, Cicuta, and OEnanthe. There are 152 genera and about 1,300 species, chiefly from temperate regions.