Not known for spectacular blooms, plants in the parsley family have individual flowers that by themselves are small and insignificant. Grouped together in the family's trademark umbel, the flowers become masses of delicate-looking flower heads composed of hundreds of individual florets. Their beauty is in the structure that holds the tiny blossoms in an umbrella-like formation, radiating out from a central point.
Queen Anne's Lace
The plant from which carrots were developed, Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) is now naturalized throughout North America. It grows well in all soil types and is often found growing wild along roadsides and in fields. The flowers of Queen Anne's lace are actually a compound flower consisting of many tiny flowers growing in umbels. The entire flower head looks like a fine piece of lace.
Growing in cool, moist deciduous forests, the perennial herb sweet cicely (Osmorhiza chilensis) grows up to 3 feet high with white to green compound umbel flowers that are less prominent than its fern-like leaves. Sweet cicely grows best in shady locations that are consistently moist. Its roots give off a sweet fragrance when cut or bruised.
Gray's Desert Parsley
Native to California, Gray's desert parsley (Lomatium grayi) produces yellow umbel flowers on short, rounded perennial plants. Desert parsley has a deep tap root to help it survive regular dry seasons in its native California. Flowers bloom from April to July after vigorous spring growth during the wet season. Desert parsley grows on dry, rocky cliffs, open slopes and bluffs in areas where the coastal Douglas fir grows in California.