Bupleurum sounds kind of lovable doesn’t it? Like the name of the portly gentleman who lived down the road when you were growing up and let you go and get your ball back whenever it went in his garden with no bother, and would pull silly faces whenever you passed in the street. Mr Bupleurum. Sorely missed by all.
Actually he’s not, because he isn’t, and never was. Bupleurum is in fact the name for a genus of woody shrubs* in the Apiaceae family, which is more often known as the parsley family. That’s right: these dainty adornments to some of the more refined bouquets out there are direct relatives to not only parsley, but carrots, celery, coriander, cumin and a whole host of other C-words that you wouldn’t normally think of as particularly pretty.
But pretty the bupleurum can be, particularly the cutely named bupleurum rotundifolium, with its bright-green flowers and delicate foliage. Likewise the fruticosum variety, with its veritable parasol of flowering spokes (or ‘umbellifers’ to give them their technical name, which the Telegraph somehow found enough spare column space to declare as ‘in vogue’ way back in 2009). While there are about 70 species of bupleurum in total, you only really see a few types in gardens or flower arrangements - like euphorbias, their greenish-yellow hues are perfect for framing more jewel-like colours.
*Good idea for an insult, that is. Next time your boyfriend is doing your head in, tell him he’s 'nothing but a woody shrub' and watch his already fragile masculinity crumble into a confused mess before your very eyes.
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