Tordylium is a genus of flowering plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae). Members of the genus are known as hartworts.[1]

Tordylium apulum (13605778393).jpg
Tordylium apulum
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Tordylium
L.[1] or Tourn. ex L.[2]

See text


Tordylium species are annuals or biennials, covered in long hairs. Their stems may be hollow or almost solid. The basal leaves are more-or-less undivided, and have usually disappeared when the plant flowers. The stem leaves are once pinnate. The flowers have persistent sepals and white petals, with those on one side much longer than the other. The fruits are about as long as they are wide. Their side ridges have whitish wings.[1]


Species assigned to the genus were first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 in Species Plantarum.[2][3]


The number of species in the genus varies widely between sources. Ainsworthia and Synelcosciadium were included in Tordylium by El-Aisawi & Jury (1998).[4] Gömürgen et al. (2011) say there are 17 species in Turkey alone.[5] As of February 2015, The Plant List accepts only six species in total, keeping Ainsworthia and Synelcosciadium separate:[6][7][8]


Tordylium apulum, the Mediterranean hartwort or Roman pimpernel, is used as a vegetable in Greece and as a flavouring in Italy.[9]

Tordylium officinale, the Officinal or Cretan Hartwort ( also a Mediterranean species ) , bears fruit formerly used as an emmenagogue, and the plant ( plant part unspecified ) has formed one of the ingredients of Theriac, a preparation believed to be an antidote to snake and other venoms. Courchet further states of the genus Tordylium in general that the various species bear fruits that - like those of many other Umbellifers - are aromatic and carminative, but that those of Tordylium are seldom used.[10]


  1. ^ The epithet is misspelt "byzantirum" in version 1.1 of The Plant List.


  1. ^ a b c Stace, Clive (2010), New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5, p. 828
  2. ^ a b "IPNI Plant Name Query Results for Tordylium", The International Plant Names Index, retrieved 2015-02-27
  3. ^ Carl Linnaeus (1753), "Tordylium", Species Plantarum, vol. 1, pp. 239–240
  4. ^ Al-Eisawi, D. & Jury, S.L. (1988), "A taxonomic revision of the genus Tordylium L. (Apiaceae)", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 97: 357–403, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1988.tb01066.x
  5. ^ Gömürgen, Ayşe Nihal; Doğan, Cahit; Özmen, Edibe; Başer, Birol & Altınözlü, Haşim (2011), "Chromosome number, karyotype analysis and pollen morphology of Turkish endemic Tordylium elegans (Boiss. & Bal.) Alava & Hub.-Mor. (Apiaceae)" (PDF), Pakistan Journal of Botany, 43 (4): 1803–1807, retrieved 2015-02-28
  6. ^ "Search results for Tordylium", The Plant List, retrieved 2015-02-27
  7. ^ "Search results for Ainsworthia", The Plant List, retrieved 2015-02-28
  8. ^ "Search results for Synelcosciadium", The Plant List, retrieved 2015-02-28
  9. ^ Facciola, Stephen (1998), Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants (2nd (paperback) ed.), Vista, CA: Kampong, ISBN 978-0-9628087-2-2, p. 22
  10. ^ Courchet, Lucien Désiré Joseph. 1882 Les Ombellifères en général et les espèces usitées en pharmacie en particulier, pub. Montpellier : Imprimerie Cristin, Serre & Ricome, pps. 162-3. Viewable online at Retrieved 11.13 on 20/8/18. Cited in Ethnobotany of the Umbelliferae : paper by David French forming part of The Biology and Chemistry of the Umbelliferae, ed. V.H. Heywood, pub. for Linnaean Society by Academic Press 1971.