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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 263. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/4/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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1. Carum carvi L. (caraway)

Pl. 204 f–h; Map 846

Plants biennial, with somewhat tuberous-thickened taproots, glabrous. Stems 30–100 cm long, erect or ascending. Leaves alternate and sometimes also basal (a few basal leaves sometimes present at flowering), the basal and lower stem leaves mostly long-petiolate, the median and upper leaves short-petiolate to sessile, the sheathing bases not or only slightly inflated. Leaf blades 2–15 cm long, oblong-lanceolate to ovate in outline, 2 or 3 times pinnately compound or dissected, the ultimate segments 3–15 mm long, linear or narrowly elliptic, entire or with few teeth or lobes, narrowed or tapered to a sharp point at the tip. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, compound umbels, mostly long-stalked. Involucre absent or of 1–3 bracts, these shorter than the rays, spreading to ascending at flowering, linear, entire or occasionally with a few linear lobes. Rays 7–15, 0.3–4.0 cm long, often noticeably unequal in length. Involucel absent or of 1–3 bractlets, these mostly shorter than the flower stalks, similar to the bracts but smaller. Flowers 11 to numerous in each umbellet, the stalks 1–12 mm long, unequal in length. Sepals absent. Petals obovate, rounded or shallowly notched at the tip, white, rarely tinged with pink. Ovaries glabrous. Fruits 3–5 mm long, oblong-elliptic in outline, flattened laterally, glabrous, dark brown with pale ribs, each mericarp somewhat narrowed along the commissures, with 5 conspicuous ribs, these lacking wings. 2n=20. May–July.

Introduced, known thus far only from St. Louis (native of Europe, Asia; introduced sporadically in the northeastern U.S. and Canada). Habitat unknown, but presumably disturbed, open areas.

This species is included in the flora with some reservations. The specimens on which Steyermark (1963) based his reports from Boone and Jackson Counties could not be located during the present study. However, a single vegetative specimen exists from the city of St. Louis that unfortunately lacks sufficient label data to determine whether the gathering originated from a cultivated or spontaneous occurrence. Carum carvi is to be expected to escape sporadically from cultivation in Missouri, particularly in urban areas. Caraway fruits are used as a flavoring in some baked goods and alcoholic beverages. They also are a component of the fragrances in some soaps and perfumes.



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