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.
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. 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.