Seseli

Taxa treated:

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by Lars Fröberg
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Seseli L.

Linnaeus, Sp. pl.: 259 (1753).
Libanotis Haller ex Zinn (1757), nom. cons.
Perennial herbs with a terete to sulcate, solid stem. Leaves pinnate; primary leaflets sessile or shortly petiolulate. Umbels with or without bracts; rays rather few to many, papillose or pubescent; bractlets several; umbellules usually dense and hemispherical. Petals often papillose on the back. Fruit not flattened; carpophore filiform, divided to the base. Mericarps usually papillose or pubescent; ridges 5, straw-coloured, equal in height; valleculae as wide as the ridges, each with one or a few dark-brown vittae visible on the surface.
Chromosome base-numbers x=9, 10, 11.

Taxonomy. The circumscription of the large genus Seseli has fluctuated; the segregate genus Libanotis, including Seseli libanotis and characterized by distinctly sulcate stems, fairly well-developed caducous sepals and several bracts, has been recognized frequently, recently by, e.g., Schubert & Vent (1988). The support for Libanotis is poor, since stem profile in cross section varies even within S. libanotis. Ball (1968) included Libanotis in Seseli, based on several shared traits, e.g., dense and hemispherical umbellules in umbels with ± outwards-curved rays, and usually papillose or hairy fruits with 5 ± prominent, unwinged ridges on each mericarp. Phylogenetic analyses of Peucedanum and allied genera (Spalik et al. 2004) suggest that Seseli is monophyletic (although some taxa now referred to other genera should perhaps be included), and that other groups within Seseli may be more strongly supported than Libanotis.

1 Leaves fairly broad-lobed (length/width ratio of ultimate lobes less than 4); umbels with more than 20 umbellules 1. S. libanotis
- Leaves narrow-lobed (length/width ratio of ultimate lobes greater than 6); umbels with less than 20 umbellules 2. S. montanum

1. Seseli libanotis (L.) W.D.J. Koch              map              ill.

Koch, Gen. Pl. umbell.: 111 (1824). – Athamanta libanotis L., Sp. pl.: 244 (1753). – Libanotis montana Crantz (1767). – Type: Linnaean Herbarium 345.1 (LINN) lectotype, sel. by Jarvis & Knees, Taxon 37: 474 (1988).
Libanotis pyrenaica (L.) Schwarz (1949).
D Hjorterod. F hirvenputki. N hjorterot. S säfferot.
Hemicryptophyte. To 90(–110) cm, aromatic, similar in scent to Daucus carota; tap­root 5–15 mm thick, simple or branched. Stem angular to sulcate; basal part 3–7.5(–12) mm thick, often purplish, glabrous, not or indistinctly glaucous, and with remains of dead leaves; upper internodes distinctly to indistinctly sulcate, often hairy. Leaves 3–7 at the base and (3–)4–9 on the stem, one of the basal or rarely the lowest stem leaf is the largest; sheath narrow, usually not purplish; petiole (3–)6–17(–35) cm; blade 1(–2)-pinnate, 9–21(–23) × 3.5–9(–14) cm, with a length/width ratio of 1.6–3(–3.8), lower side somewhat glaucous. Primary leaflets (2–)3–7 pairs; angle leaflet/rachis 35–75°; longest petiolules 0–3(–10) mm. Ultimate leaflets 2–3-pinnatifid, with 3–6 pairs of lobes; petiolule 3–13 mm; blade 10–30(–42) × 9–26(–30) mm (length/width ratio 0.8–1.5); base shortly attenuate to shallowly cordate, usually truncate; margin indistinctly revolute, usually distinctly ciliate. Ultimate lobes 1–5.5(–7.7) × 0.6–2.4(–2.9) mm, with a length/width ratio of 1.4–2.8(–3.3); apex acuminate or sometimes acute, with a hyaline or slightly purplish tip
Umbels with a slightly convex top, 2–4 cm high, 5–9.5 cm wide; peduncle 6–22(–31) cm; rays outwards-curved, 2–4.5 cm, distinctly papillose and pubescent on the adaxial side. Bracts (1–)5–17, persistent, 6–12 × 0.3–0.8 mm, distinctly ciliate, ± distinctly membrane-bordered. Umbellules 24–44(–52); pedicels (0.3–)0.4–0.8 cm, distinctly papillose and pubescent on the adaxial side. Bractlets (9–)11–19, persistent, (3.5–)4.5–8.5 × 0.2–0.7 mm, distinctly ciliate, usually indistinctly membrane-bordered. Flowers (25–)30–52 per umbellule, not or slightly zygomorphic; sepals 0.3–1(–1.5) mm, ± caducous; petals white, sometimes pale pink in buds, usually indistinctly papillose on the back, 0.8–1.2(–1.5) × 0.6–1.2 mm, emarginate (apical cut 0–0.2 mm deep); filaments 1.1–2.1 mm; anthers 0.3–0.5 mm. Fruit elliptic to oblong in outline, densely pubescent and papillose (rarely with only papillae). Mericarps 1.9–3.5(–4.2) × 1.2–1.9(–2.2) × 0.7–1.1 mm (length/width ratio 1.5–2.4); ridges rather low and narrow, rounded; stylopodium conical, 0.5–0.9 mm wide; style 0.8–1.5 mm, directed outwards. – Mid-summer to late summer.
[2n=18, 22]
Distribution. Nem–BNem. Alt. N Bu 260 m. Perhaps indigenous on seashores, but largely archaeophytic. – D scattered in coastal areas of western Sjæ, rare in ØJy (Grenå, Hjelm, c. 5 localities on Samsø), FyL (Guldbjerg, c. 5 localities on Hindsholm) and western LFM (Albuen, Gottesgabe, Kramnitze); Brn Christiansø 1854. N inner parts of Oslofjorden (7 localities in Ak and Bu); casual in He Ringsaker 1963, Vf Våle 1879, AA Tvedestrand 1901 and Ho Odda (metal works). S fairly common in the eastern parts of the southern lowlands: Öl, Gtl, central Ög and central Vg, and from Nrk and northern Srm to southeastern Vsm and northern Upl; rare in northern Klm (formerly 11 parishes, now only Gamleby and Västrum), northern SmI (formerly Bredestad and Gränna), calcareous areas of Srm, southeastern Dlr (north to Leksand in the river valley of Dalälven) and southeastern Gst (Gävle and Valbo); declining due to overgrowth and exploitation, especially in the marginal parts of the area (e.g. Klm, Srm, and Gst); casual in southern Sk (Södra Sandby 1870, 1880, Örsjö 1967, Öved 1835), Vrm Ed 1888 and Mpd Sundsvall 1996 (railway area). F scattered in the major islands of A, rare in southwestern V in the surroundings of Turku. – There are unconfirmed records from southern SmI (Tingsås, early 19th century) and BhG Göteborg (Palmér 1927).
C Europe to W Siberia.
Habitat. Well-drained warm sites usually in full sun on rather dry, usually lime-rich, often mull-rich soil, e.g. dry meadows, deciduous woodland margins, cliff ledges and rock bases, sand- and gravel-pits, road-cuttings and verges (in F often growing on prehistoric dwellings and burial grounds); more frequent in man-made sites; favoured by slight overgrowth, but not competitive in tall, closed vegetation.
Variation. Seseli libanotis is polymorphic. It has been subdivided (Ball 1968) into subsp. libanotis (leaves 2–3-pinnate with narrow lobes) and subsp. intermedium (Rupr.) P.W. Ball (leaves 1–2-pinnate, with broad lobes). The closely related S. sibiricum (L.) W.D.J. Koch (S Ural) is distinguished by a terete stem, 1-pinnate leaves, pinkish petals, and glabrous fruits with styles about half as long as the fruit (Ball 1968). All studied specimens from Norden have hairy or papillose fruits and styles shorter than half the length of the fruit, and the Nordic material is therefore regarded to belong to S. libanotis s.str. Some characters in the Nordic material are quite variable, viz. the cross-section profile of the stem, shape of leaves, shape and size of leaf-lobes, and hairiness of inflorescence, but many specimens studied have ovate to broadly triangular leaves and a ± distinctly sulcate stem. Some specimens from Gtl, Ög, Vsm, Upl and A, although very variable in lobe-shape, have 1–2-pinnate, lanceolate to narrowly ovate leaves and a ± terete stem, thus showing a partial correspondence to S. sibiricum; in one specimen of the terete-stemmed morphotype (Upl Lovö), the petals are also pinkish. However, the correlation between these characters is poor in material from outside Norden, and the stem profile is largely dependent on the size of the specimen, thicker stems usually being more sulcate. Also Pimenov (1993) included S. sibiricum (in the sense of European authors) in S. libanotis.
Similar taxa. Seseli libanotis is similar to Selinum carvifolia, but that species has distinctly petiolulate primary leaflets, the umbels usually lack bracts and the fruits are glabrous with wide lateral wings.

2. Seseli montanum L.              map              

Linnaeus, Sp. pl.: 260 (1753). – Type: Clifford Herbarium 102, Seseli 1 (BM) lectotype, sel. by Reduron & Jarvis, Soc. l’Éch Pl. Vasc. Eur. Bas. Méd. 24: 78 (1993).
S fliksäfferot.
Literature. Ekman 1986 (also ill.).
Hemicryptophyte. To 100 cm; tap­root 7–8 mm thick. Stem at the base 2.5–3 mm thick, terete or slightly angular, not purplish, glabrous, glaucous, and with some remains of dead leaves; upper internodes sulcate. Leaves 2–3 at the base and 5–6 on the stem (the 1–3 uppermost ± reduced to a distinct sheath), the innermost basal leaf or the lowest stem leaf is the largest one; sheath rather narrow, distinctly clasping, with a purplish border; petiole 12–15 cm; blade 1-pinnate, 11–12 × 4–6 cm (length/width ratio 1.8–3). Primary leaflets 3–4 pairs; angle leaflet/rachis 40–50°; longest petiolules 0–4 mm. Ultimate leaflets 2-pinnatifid, with 3–4 pairs of lobes; petiolule 8–10 mm; blade 17–27 × 13–23 mm (length/width ratio 1.2–1.6); base shortly attenuate to shallowly cordate; margin distinctly revolute, usually distinctly papillose. Ultimate lobes 5–9 × 0.7–0.9 mm (length/width ratio 7–10); apices acuminate or acute, with hyaline tips.
Umbels with a slightly convex top, 2 cm high, 3.5 cm wide; peduncle 10 cm, papillose at the top; rays straight or outwards-curved, 1.5 cm, distinctly papillose on the adaxial side. Bracts 0. Umbellules 12–15; pedicels 0.3 cm, distinctly papillose on the adaxial side. Bractlets 9–11, persistent, 1.7–2.3 × 0.3–0.5 mm, ± papillose; border not or indistinctly membranous. Flowers 20–24 per umbellule, not zygomorphic; sepals 0.1–0.3 mm; petals white or pink, usually indistinctly papillose on the back, 0.7–0.9 × 0.6–0.7 mm, entire, inflexed; filaments 0.7–1.1 mm; anthers 0.3–0.4 mm, sometimes pinkish. Fruit oblong in outline, densely papillose. Mericarps 2.6–3.0 × 1.3 × 0.8 mm (length/width ratio 2); ridges lower than in S. libanotis; stylopodium conical, 0.5 mm wide; style 0.5–0.7 mm, directed outwards. – Late summer to autumn.
[2n=22]
Distribution and habitat. Known since 1984 from Sk Dalby (established along former railway, probably introduced with grass-seed); casual in Upl Bondkyrka 1929 (escape from botanical garden).
S Europe. The species is represented in Norden by the SW European subsp. montanum.
Similar taxa. Seseli montanum is similar to S. campestre (rare casual).

Rare casual

Seseli campestre Besser 1822. – Similar to S. montanum (2) but more branched and with wider, 2–3-pinnate leaves with shorter and wider sheaths and long-petiolulate primary leaflets; the umbels have 0–4 bracts and longer rays, the bractlets have a distinct membranous border, and the petals are distinctly papillose.
Casual, probably with Russian wheat. – F U Helsinki (Munkkisaari mill) 1965–72. – SE Europe and SW Asia. – Map (not in the book).

References To top

Ball, P.W. 1968: Seseli L. In T.G. Tutin et al. (eds), Flora Europaea 2: 334–338. Cambridge.

Ekman, S. 1986: Seseli montanum subsp. montanum, fliksäfferot – ny för Norden. Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 80: 166–168.

Palmér, J.E. 1927: Bohusläns flora. Uddevalla.

Pimenov, M.G. 1993: The identity of Himalayan ‘Seseli sibiricum’ (Umbelliferae). Kew Bull. 48: 781–785.

Schubert, R. & Vent, W. 1988: Exkursionsflora für die Gebiete der DDR und der BRD, 4. Kritischer Band. Berlin.

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