Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Humble Umbel

The umbel is a beautiful flower to have in the garden. The definition of an umbel is, a flower cluster in which stalks of nearly equal length spring from a common centre and form a flat or curved surface, characteristic of the parsley family.  The English countryside verges always look beautiful covered with cow parsley with it’s white fluffy cloudlike umbels wafting in a gentle breeze. When cut, umbels look perfect in a vase as a single stem so their stunning architectural profile can be shown off to it’s best (less can be more!) They also look as good in a bunch as their full flat heads fill bigger spaces in a bouquet or arrangement giving a more voluptuous feel.

I grow many umbels and my favourites in the garden this year are Ammi Visnaga, Ammi Majus and Orlaya Grandiflora. I also love achilleas and have always thought of them as umbels but this is where the taxonomy of ‘inflorescences’ gets me very confused as I now think they might be corymbs or are they a compound umbel or a raceme corymb or, or ..... anyway whatever their category they are all very striking!

Ammi Majus in profile

Ammi Visnaga drying in the garden evoking images of the Wicker Man

Achillea, Gold Plate

Less is more with Orlaya Grandiflora in the picture

Some bunches with Ammi Majus

And for a grand finale.... a "table full" of Sweet Williams and Ammi Majus.  Now that's what I call a  unit of measure for flowers!

The frilly Ammi Majus looks like a scalloped lace edge.


  1. Nice photos. The last two are sumptuous.
    Up the umbels!

  2. I was convinced I had Ammi on the allotment. The under-gardener has informed me that it is a carrot gone to seed.

    A beautiful table display.