Alexanders

A member of the carrot family common along hedge rows in coastal regions. 

Species Detail
Common Name Alexanders
Alternative Name
Scientific Name Smyrnium olusatrum
Family Carrot Family Umbelliferae
Species Reference blamey 194.4
Interest
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Status
Months
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ID Notes
Species Photos

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Flower green

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Alexanders: the horse parsley - The carrot family is a diverse one with many species, some very common and others, as you might expect, very rare. One of the first of the family to flower each year is alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) which can flower from March onwards until June.
The 'umbels' (ie carrot family) are named as such because of their 'umbrella' shaped flower heads and they can be difficult to tell apart but alexanders is easy because it has a pale green flower head where as most of the family are white, cream or yellow. It also has large glossy leaves which is unusual in the carrot family. It is a stout and robust plant and cannot be missed, it is quite an imposing plant.
Alexanders is a fairly local plant confined to coastal regions Britain and I had not seen it until we moved here to Dorset where it is plentiful near the coast. It quite often grows in hedgerows and on banks inland but hardly more than five miles from the sea.
I have no idea where it gets its name. It is really a native of the Mediterranean region but may have been introduced to Britain, possibly by the Romans, as a food crop similar to celery but that has long since stopped. Apparently it is much savoured by horses hence its other common name of horse parsley so may be their is a connection with Alexander the Great and his horse? 

 

Species Distribution

These are nature reserves and wildlife hot-spots where I have recorded this species

Portland Bill

Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
4

Portland Bill

Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
4

Ferrybridge and Portland Causeway

Dorset Wildlife Trust, Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
4

Arne Nature Reserve

RSPB, Site of Scientific Interest
5

Corfe Castle Common

National Trust, Site of Scientific Interest
5

Radipole Lake Nature Reserve

RSPB, Site of Scientific Interest
5

King Barrow Quarry Nature Reserve

Dorset Wildlife Trust, Site of Scientific Interest
4

Broadcroft Quarry Nature Reserve

Butterfly Conservation, Site of Scientific Interest
3

Perryfields Nature Reserve

Butterfly Conservation, Site of Scientific Interest
2

Church Ope Cove

Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
2

Tout Quarry Nature Reserve

Dorset Wildlife Trust, Site of Scientific Interest
3

Abbotsbury

Open Access
3
Species Habitats
Displaying 1 - 1 of 1
Habitat Reference Relationship
S1: Hedgerow Scrub

Associated