Scandix pecten-veneris - Shepherd's Needles

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Apiales - Family: Apiaceae

Shepherd's needles

It is the shape of the seeds, or fruits, of this plant that give it its common name - they are sharply pointed and grow up to 80mm in length. The ray of flowers are uneven in size, the outer ones being much larger than the inner ones

Shepherd's Needles can often be found on roadsides, but this plant also grows in abandoned farmland and other grassy places. It flowers from January to July - a long flowering season for plants in the Mediterranean.

The needles of Shepherd's needles

The sharply pointed fruit from which the plant gets its common name

This genus of the Apiaceae family comprises a number of species and all are found in the Mediterranean countries.

The plants shown on this page were photographed in Crete in early April.

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