Potted herbs

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Potted herbs
Giant fennel (Ferula communis)

Giant fennel ( Ferula communis )

Euasterids II
Order : Umbelliferae (Apiales)
Family : Umbelliferae (Apiaceae)
Subfamily : Apioideae
Genre : Potted herbs
Scientific name

The stick herbs ( ferula ), also called rod herbs or giant fennel , are a genus of plants within the umbelliferae family (Apiaceae). The 150 to 185 species are mainly distributed in the Mediterranean region from North Africa to Southwest and Central Asia.


Ferula is derived from Latin folk etymology: ferire for "to hit", because it is guaranteed that the light, dry stick was used to hit; however, the true origin of the name is not known.


Giant fennel habit and leaves ( Ferula communis )
Branched whole inflorescence, which is composed of double-gold partial inflorescences, of the giant fennel ( Ferula communis )
Double achenes of the giant fennel ( Ferula communis )

Appearance and leaves

Stickwort species are perennial to perennial herbaceous plants , there are both hapaxanthic species that bloom only once in their life and pollakanthic species that bloom annually. Some species reach heights of growth of up to 4 meters. The garlic-like smell of most species is noticeable . All stick herb species have tap roots , which are mostly woody . The stem is branched and the base is often covered with old fibers from the leaf sheaths.

The alternately arranged leaves are divided into leaf sheath, petiole and leaf blade. The often broad leaf sheath often envelops the stem; in some species the leaf sheaths are very durable and fray. The compound leaf blades are pinnate and two to fourfold or incised two to fourfold.

Inflorescences, flowers and fruits

Many flowers stand together in double-gold inflorescences . As a rule, there are no bracts (envelopes), but they occur in some species.

In some species there are unisexual (purely male) and hermaphrodite flowers on one specimen . The flowers are five-fold and radially symmetrical . The five petals are yellow or pale yellow (rarely greenish-yellow) and oval to lanceolate with a sharpened tip. The stylus is tapered toward sometimes enlarged or lobed to the base. The lower ovary is two-chambered.

Two -part disintegrated fruits (double achenae ) of elliptical shape are formed, in which the lateral ribs are winged. The seeds are flattened or slightly concave.

Systematics and distribution

The genus Ferula was established by Carl von Linné . Synonyms for Ferula L. are Buniotrinia Stapf & Wettst. , Leutea Pimenov , Merwia B. Fedsch . , Narthex Falc. , Schumannia Kuntze , Scorodosma Bunge , Soranthus Ledeb. , Euryangium Kauffm. , Sumbulus H.Reinsch , Talassia Korovin .

The genus Ferula belongs to the subtribe Ferulinae from the tribe Scandiceae in the subfamily Apioideae within the family Apiaceae .

Stickwort species are common in North Africa , Central and Southwest Asia, and the Mediterranean. There are also species in northern India. There are 26 species in the People's Republic of China , seven of them only there. There are 20 species in Turkey, eleven of them only there. The center of biodiversity is Central and Southwest Asia.

Asant ( Ferula assa-foetida )
Giant fennel ( Ferula communis )
Giant fennel ( Ferula communis ), fruiting
Illustration of Ferula gummosa
Habit and double-ended inflorescences of Ferula linkii
Illustration of ferula narthex
Habitus and double-gold inflorescences of Ferula ovina
Illustration of Ferula tunetana (1–13) and Ferula longipes (14–15)

There are around 150 to 185 species of ferula :

Silphium on a coin from Cyrene
  • Silphium , a plant found in Libya, was probably a species of the genus Ferula (Ferula historica). It is probably extinct.


Ferula persica supplies the serapine resin. In Sicily, bee houses were made from ferula sticks, illustration in: Walter Brinkmann, Beehive and apiary in the Romanic countries of Hamburg 1938, panel VII, 1.


  • Renata Kurzyna-Młynik, Alexei A. Oskolski, Stephen R. Downie, Rafał Kopacz, Aneta Wojewódzka, Krzysztof Spalik: Phylogenetic position of the genus Ferula (Apiaceae) and its placement in tribe Scandiceae as inferred from nrDNA ITS sequence variation. In: Plant Systematics and Evolution , Volume 274, 2008, pp. 47-66. doi : 10.1007 / s00606-008-0022-2 PDF. (Section systematics)
  • She Menglan (佘孟兰 Sheh Meng-lan), Mark F. Watson: Ferula , p. 174 - online with the same text as the printed work , In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (ed.): Flora of China , Volume 14 - Apiaceae through Ericaceae , Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis, 2005, ISBN 1-930723-41-5 . (Sections Description and Systematics)
  • Zeynep Elibol, Yusuf Menemen, Mehmet Sağiroğlu, Hayri Duman, Fen Edebiyat: A molecular phylogenetic study on some Turkish Ferula L. (Apiaceae) species using nrDNA ITS sequences. In: Pakistan Journal of Botany , Volume 44, Issue 2, 2012, pp. 589–594: full text PDF. (Section systematics)

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Genaust: Etymological dictionary of botanical plant names. 3rd, completely revised and expanded edition. Birkhäuser, Basel / Boston / Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-7643-2390-6 , p. 247.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag She Menglan (佘孟兰 Sheh Meng-lan), Mark F. Watson: Ferula , P. 174 - online with the same text as the printed work , In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (Ed.): Flora of China , Volume 14 - Apiaceae through Ericaceae , Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis, 2005, ISBN 1-930723-41-5 .
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Ferula in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf R. Hand, 2011: Apiaceae. : Ferula data sheet In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.
  5. Mehrnoush Panahi, Łukasz Banasiak, Marcin Piwczyński, Radosław Puchałka, Alexei A. Oskolski, Krzysztof Spalik: Phylogenetic relationships among Dorema, Ferula and Leutea (Apiaceae: Scandiceae: Ferulinae) inferred noncoding sequences from nr .DNA ITNAS In:  Taxon , Volume 64, Issue 4, August 2015. doi : 10.12705 / 644.8
  6. Dieter Lehmann: Two medical prescription books of the 15th century from the Upper Rhine. Part I: Text and Glossary. Horst Wellm, Pattensen / Han. 1985, now at Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg (= Würzburg medical-historical research , 34), ISBN 3-921456-63-0 , p. 254.

Web links

Commons : Stick Herbs ( Ferula )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

further reading

  • Marcin Piwczyński, Dominika WyborskaJoanna Gołębiewska, Radosław Puchałka: Phylogenetic positions of seven poorly known species of Ferula (Apiaceae) with remarks on the phylogenetic utility of the plastid trnH-psbA, trnS-trnG, and atpB-rbcL inter. In: Systematics and Biodiversity March 2018. doi : 10.1080 / 14772000.2018.1442374