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Umbelliferognosy: JAMA Doesn't Know Its Daucus From Its Angelica

Roger W. Pease Jr, PhD
JAMA. 1988;259(18):2694. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720180022012.
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To the Editor.  —For years, I have challenged my vision in identifying the out-of-focus flora and fauna in the impressionistic paintings on the covers of JAMA. Miraculously, the foreground of the cover of the Nov 27 issue1 came into clear focus. However, the diagnostic characteristics of the white-flowered umbellifer are not those of Queen Anne's lace or wild carrot (the name given at the head of the contents page), which is conspecific with the cultivated carrot (Daucus carota). Peterson and McKinny's2A Field Guide to Wildflowers indicates that each of the compound umbels of Queen Anne's lace should have stiff three-forked bracts at the base. These are clearly missing in the plant in the cover photograph. Also, the older flower heads with seeds ought to curl up into a cuplike "bird's nest." If the impressionistic pink blossoms in the background are fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium, an association of white


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