(Apiaceae) A dicotyledonous family containing about 2500-3000 species in about 300 genera and commonly known as the carrot family. Its members are distinguished by their characteristic inflorescence, the *umbel
, a feature that made them one of the first natural families to be clearly recognized. Most umbellifers are herbaceous and have hollow internodes and often a characteristic odour. The fruit is dry and usually ridged and many are used as spices, such as caraway (Carum carvi) and coriander (Coriandrum sativum). Species used as herbs include parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), while the carrot (Daucus carota) and parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) are important root crops.