Tiny to Small Flowers That Are Arranged In Umbels

An umbel resembles the spokes of an umbrella. The inflorescence has pedicels which radiate out from a central point. The umbels in Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) are usually compound with umbels radiating from umbels.

The common name, genus and species, and family are given for each flower. Apiaceae was at one time Umbelliferae and is still listed that way in some references.

Click the umbrella to find out.

What is an umbel?



Umbelliferae or Parsley Family

  • The flowers in the Parsley Family have 5 petals, 5 sepals and 5 stamens. Identification often requires the use of leaves and root structure.
  • Caraway has a delicate-appearing inflorescence. It is alien and locally common around hayfields and near streams.
  • Porter's Lovage grows to over l meter. It has fern-like leaves. It is found in forested ravines and aspen groves.
  • Cow Parsnip is a large plant with very large leaves. It grows in swampy thickets and streamsides in middle altitudes.
  • Mountain Parsley is the most common yellow umbel. It ranges from the pine-oak zone to the subalpine.


Carum carvi


Porter's Lovage or Osha

Ligusticum porteri


CowparsnipB MtParsley

Mountain Parsley

Pseudocymopteris montanus or Cymopteris lemmonii


Cow Parsnip

Heracleum sphondylium



Knotweed Family

  • The Knotweed Family is one of the few dicots that have flowers in 3s or 6s. Individual flowers are very small.
  • Wild Buckwheat is an off-white color and is common in the foothills and montane zones.
  • Alpine Sulfur Flower forms mats. It is found in gravelly, rocky areas above timberline.
Buckwheat SulphurBuckwheatX

Alpine Sulfur Flower

Erigonum flavum


Wild or James Buckwheat

Eriogonum jamesii




Valerian Family

  • Subalpine Valerian is a plant with a globe-like cluster of white or pinkish flowers when it first blooms. As the flowerhead matures, it becomes more open. The stamens are longer than the corolla lobes. The petals are slightly irregular.
  • Subalpine Valerian is found on open rocky slopes at moderate to high elevations.

Subalpine Valerian

Valeriana capitata acutiloba


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