Structural variation in carpophores, the ‘stalks’ of the typical schizocarps of Apiaceae, is not well documented. Liu et al. study 92 species from 43 genera representing all subfamilies of Apiaceae and propose a phylogenetic interpretation as well as a standard terminology to describe the various character states. The data suggest that the absence of free carpophores (as in subfamily Mackinlayoideae) or the presence of a single carpophore are the ancestral conditions in Apiaceae, while bifurcate carpophores with opposite vascular bundles are the derived state, present in most members of subfamily Apioideae. Secondary reductions seem to have occurred in several unrelated lineages.