A ubiquitous circumboreal family of 300 genera and 3000 species, mostly herbs with
alternate lobed to compound leaves and sheathing petioles. Fruits notably
oily and the herbage usually strongly scented. Fruits born in distinctive
heads (umbels). The Umbelliferae contains many economically important plants including
celery, chervil, parsley, dill, caraway, coriandeer, cumin, fennel, and anise; and
some famous poisonous ones - water-hemlock (Conium, Cicutaria)
Pollen light micrograph:
The internal thickenings around the pores (costae) are one of the most characteristic features of
Umbelliferae pollen. The pores (thin areas) may be circular, elliptical, or rectangular in plan view,
with the long axis perpendicular to the polar axis of the grain. The thickenings may
more-or-less fuse to form two continuous bands encircling the grain poleward of the pores -
Grains that are strongly constricted in the equatorial region may have protruding pores
or pronunced polarly-elongated ridges in the equatorial region.
In polar view, the grains are often triangular, with the furrows at the apices of
the triangle (angular) or in the sides of the triangle (interangular).
Pollen scanning electron micrograph (SEM)
The characteristic internal thickenings (costae) of Umbelliferae pollen are not
visible in SEM's, but the sculpturing and protruding pores are more obvious than
in light microscopy.
Production and Dispersal:
This insect pollinated family has low production and poor dispersal, but
the plants are so widespread that a few grains appear in many samples.
Good. The walls are thick and the costae are apparent in poorly-preserved grains.
Tertiary - common from Miocene onward.