Taxonomic History

The genus was established by Linnaeus in 1753 in Species Plantarum, classified within the class Pentandria dyginia, which consists of plants with bisexual flowers with five stamens and two carpels. When Linnaeus formally published the generic name Pimpinella, he included the pre-Lin-naean name Tragoselinum Tourn. as a synonym. Linnaeus identified four species: P. saxĂ­fraga, P. glauca, P. peregrina, and P. anisum.

Various subsequent taxonomists published new generic names for elements of the genus, although all are now reduced to synonymy, namely, Anisum Hill, Tragium Sprengel, Ledeburia Link., and Gymnosciadium Hochst. to Pimpinella.

In 1827, De Candolle considered the genus Pimpinella to be divided into three sections: Tragoselinum, characterized by its glabrous fruits and perennial roots; Tragium, with hairy fruits, perennial (rarely biennial) roots, and radical leaves uni- to bipinnatisect with ovate segments; and Anisum, which included species with down-covered annual fruits.

One of the most important reviews was that of Bentham and Hooker (1867), who included 65 to 70 species under the name Pimpinella, classified in six sections according to the habitat of the plant, leaf and fruit morphology, and petal color. Yet it was not until 1910 when Wolff used petal color and morphology and fruit indumentum to undertake a thorough taxonomic revision that to some extent clarified the status of the genus. He divided the genus into three sections: Reutera, which included species with yellow flowers and glabrous or hairy fruits; Tragium, generally with white flowers and bristly or hairy fruits, granular or tubercled, sometimes nearly glabrous or almost completely smooth; and Tragoselinum, also with white flowers and glabrous or totally glabrous fruits. P. anisum was included within the section tragium.

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