Posts Tagged ‘Apiaceae’

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rock Samphire

Crithmon, some call it Critamon, is a little shrubbie herbe, thick of leaves, the height of it is about a cubit, growing in rockie and maritime places, being full of fatt, and whitish leaves, like unto those of Purcelane, yet thicker & longer & salt to ye tast.

—Dioscorides, De Materia Medica, Book II: 157

Rock samphire is one of several maritime species grown in Bonnefont herb garden. This edible plant was foraged rather than cultivated in the Middle Ages; it also had medicinal uses. Below, left to right: Samphire in bloom; the flower structure is typical of the Apiaceae, a large family of aromatic plants. Ripening seedheads; the name “crithmon” by which the plant was known in antiquity is thought to derive from the Greek word for barley, as the seeds resemble the grain.

Crithmum maritimum in Flower Crithmum maritimum Seed Heads

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fed on Fennel

Black Swallowtail Fourth and Final Form Black Swallowtail Dorsal View Black Swallowtail Ventral View

The Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) butterfly is commonly found in fields, gardens, and open spaces in the Northeastern United States. Above, left: The body of the fully developed caterpillar with its bold, bright bands of yellow, green, and black, is conspicuous against the feathery foliage of the fennel which is its favorite food; center: a female Black Swallowtail at rest on a salvia in Cuxa garden, as seen from above; right: the same butterfly seen in profile with its wings folded upward. Photographs by Corey Eilhardt.

We found several large, boldly marked caterpillars feeding on a stand of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) in Bonnefont garden last month. We left them undisturbed, knowing from past experience that they would grow up to be beautiful eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies. Read more »

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Fragrant Family of Fennel

Anise (<i>Pimpinella anisum</i>) in flower, Bonnefont Herb Garden Anise (<i>Pimpinella anisum</i>) in seed

Left: Anise (Pimpinella anisum) in flower, Bonnefont Herb Garden; right: Anise (Pimpinella anisum) in seed, Bonnefont Herb Garden.

Representatives of the Apiaceae family are scattered throughout all of the gardens at The Cloisters, but they are most prominent in the culinary beds of Bonnefont Herb Garden. These plants are greatly exploited for their distinct fragrances and tastes. The essential oils, created from a fairly large group of chemical constituents within the plants, are responsible for the incredibly flavorful and aromatic properties of this family. In addition, these properties help to ensure the survival of plants in this family by attracting pollinators to the flowers. Read more »