The A to Z of TV Gardening – Letter U: Carol Kirkwood takes an alphabetical journey through the world of gardening, getting inspiration and advice from some of the BBC’s most popular garden presenters and programmes.
In this episode, she is exploring subjects that all begin with the letter U: urban gardening, umbelliferae
The A to Z of TV Gardening – Letter U
Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
Apiaceae or Umbelliferae is a family of mostly aromatic flowering plants named after the type genus Apium and commonly known as the celery, carrot or parsley family, or simply as umbellifers. It is the 16th-largest family of flowering plants, with more than 3,700 species in 434 genera including such well-known and economically important plants such as ajwain, angelica, anise, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, poison hemlock, lovage, cow parsley, parsley, parsnip and sea holly, as well as silphium, a plant whose identity is unclear and which may be extinct.
The family Apiaceae includes a significant number of phototoxic species, such as giant hogweed, and a smaller number of highly poisonous species, such as water hemlock, poison hemlock, water dropwort and spotted cowbane.
Most Apiaceae are annual, biennial or perennial herbs (frequently with the leaves aggregated toward the base), though a minority are woody shrubs or small trees such as Bupleurum fruticosum. Their leaves are of variable size and alternately arranged, or with the upper leaves becoming nearly opposite. The leaves may be petiolate or sessile. There are no stipules but the petioles are frequently sheathing and the leaves may be perfoliate. The leaf blade is usually dissected, ternate or pinnatifid, but simple and entire in some genera, e.g. Bupleurum. Commonly, their leaves emit a marked smell when crushed, aromatic to foetid, but absent in some species.
Urban horticulture specifically is the study of the relationship between plants and the urban environment. It focuses on the functional use of horticulture so as to maintain and improve the surrounding urban area. With the expansion of cities and rapid urbanization, this field of study is large and complex and its study has only recently gained momentum. It has an undeniable relationship to production horticulture in that fruits, vegetables and other plants are grown for harvest, aesthetic, architectural, recreational and psychological purposes, but it extends far beyond these benefits. The value of plants in the urban environment has yet to be thoroughly researched or quantified.