Pignut

©Philip Precey

Pignut

Scientific name: Conopodium majus
Pignut is a small umbellifer, with edible tubers, that is found in woods, hedges and grasslands. Gathering wild food can be fun, but it's best to do it with an expert - come along to a Wildlife Trust event to try it.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 40cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to June

About

Common in open woodland, hedgerows and dry grassland, Pignut is a small umbellifer (member of the carrot family) with fine leaves and delicate stems. Small umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of white flowers appear between May and June, and are attractive to a range of insects, such as soldier beetles and hoverflies.

How to identify

A shortish umbellifer, Pignut has delicate, branched stems, finely divided leaves and white, open umbels of small flowers.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The stems of Pignuts lead to dark brown tubers (roots), about 15-20cm long, which are edible and taste a little like hazelnuts. Digging for these 'nuts' was once a popular pastime among children.

How people can help

Gathering wild food can be a satisfying experience and provides a chance to learn about our native plants. However, if you do fancy giving it a go, remember that it is an offence to totally uproot a wild plant and please just take what you need, leaving some for the wild creatures, too. Don't eat anything you can't identify, either - it could make you very ill. To find out more about wild plants, both edible and not, why not come along to a Wildlife Trust event? From fungi forays to woodland walks, there's plenty of opportunities to learn more about your local patch.