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Pignut: the pigs nut

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Pignut: the pigs nut

Pignut (Conopodium majus) may seem an odd name for a flower and one might ponder on how it came about! The answer is quite simple; pignut is a member of the carrot family and as such has a well formed tap root which is more bulbous and not as long as carrots you might buy at the greengrocers (or, more likely these days, the supermarket). It is, in fact, nut shaped and was sought out and eaten by free ranging pigs who had a real taste for them. The plant became known as the pigs nut and is also called groundnut, earthnut and hognut.

Members of the carrot family can be tricky to sort out but pignut is quite a small flower but has the classic umbelifer head that is common across the whole family. It is, as I said, a fairly small flower and the components of the umbel head are fragmented. The main feature is the leaf which is quite small, almost feather like with a central stem from which sort needles reach out. This leaf is quite unique amongst the carrot family and once you know how to recognise it you can be pretty sure of a positive identification each time you see it in the wild.

Pignut is certainly a flower of woodlands in spring but it also occurs in profusion in open meadows too, especially ancient ones. On Corfe Common it makes a wonderful sight in early summer.


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 1 month ago

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