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Saturday, February 26, 2011


Garden Parsley
Parsley leaves, Neapolitanum Group
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Petroselinum
Species: P. crispum
Binomial name
Petroselinum crispum
(Mill.) Fuss
Apium crispum Mill.
Apium petroselinum L.
Parsley, or Garden Parsley for precision (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region (Iran, southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia), naturalised elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as a herb, a spice and a vegetable.[1][2]


  • 1 Description
  • 2 Cultivation
    • 2.1 Cultivars
      • 2.1.1 Leaf parsley
      • 2.1.2 Root parsley
    • 2.2 Companion plant
  • 3 Culinary use
  • 4 Medicinal uses
  • 5 Health risks
  • 6 Etymology
  • 7 Gallery


Garden parsley is a bright green hairless biennial herbaceous plant in temperate climates, an annual herb in sub-tropical and tropical areas.
Where it grows as a biennial; in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a tap root used as a food store over the winter. In the second year it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seeds are ovoid, 2–3mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.[2][3][4]


Parsley (raw)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 151 kJ (36 kcal)
Carbohydrates 6.3 g
Sugars 0.9 g
Dietary fibre 3.3 g
Fat 0.8 g
Protein 3.0 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.1 mg (8%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.2 mg (13%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 1.3 mg (9%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.4 mg (8%)
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (8%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 152 μg (38%)
Vitamin C 133.0 mg (222%)
Vitamin K 1640.0 μg (1562%)
Calcium 138.0 mg (14%)
Iron 6.2 mg (50%)
Magnesium 50.0 mg (14%)
Phosphorus 58.0 mg (8%)
Potassium 554 mg (12%)
Zinc 1.1 mg (11%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Parsley grows best in moist, well drained soil, with full sun. It grows best between 22–30 °C, and is usually grown from seed.[4] Germination is slow, taking four to six weeks,[4] and often difficult because of Furanocoumarins in its seed coat.[5] Plants grown for the leaf crop are typically spaced 10 cm apart, while those grown as a root crop are typically spaced 20 cm apart to allow for the root development.[4]
Parsley attracts some wildlife. Some swallowtail butterflies use parsley as a host plant for their larvae; their caterpillars are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feed on parsley for two weeks before turning into butterflies. Bees and other nectar-feeding insects visit the flowers. Seed eaters such as the goldfinch feed on the seeds.


Parsley plant, Crispum Group
In cultivation, Garden Parsley is subdivided into several cultivar groups[6] depending on the form of the plant, which is related to its end use. These are often treated as botanical varieties,[7] but are cultivated selections, not of natural botanical origin.[3]

Leaf parsley

The two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf (P. crispum Crispum Group; syn. P. crispum var. crispum) and Italian, or flat leaf (P. crispum Neapolitanum Group; syn. P. crispum var. neapolitanum); of these, the Neapolitanum Group more closely resembles the natural wild species. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some as it easier to cultivate, being more tolerant of both rain and sunshine,[8] and has a stronger taste[4] (though this is disputed[8]), while curly leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing.[8][9] The produce code for parsley is 4899.[10] A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick, celery-like leaf stems.[8]

Root parsley

root parsley
Another type of parsley is grown as a root vegetable, the Hamburg root parsley (P. crispum Radicosum Group, syn. P. crispum var. tuberosum). This type of parsley produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. Although little used in Britain and the United States, root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisine, used in soups and stews.[8]
Though it looks similar to a parsnip it tastes quite different. Although parsnips are among the closest relatives of parsley in the family Apiaceae, the similarity of the names is a coincidence, parsnip meaning "forked turnip"; it is not closely related to real turnips.

Companion plant

Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. Like many other members of the carrot family (umbellifers), it attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. For example, they are especially useful for protecting tomato plants as the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley.[citation needed] It offers protection even in its first year as the strong scent of the parsley leaves appear to mingle with the tomato scent and confuses the search algorithm of the tomato moth.[citation needed]

Culinary use

Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. In modern cooking, parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although parsley is perceived to have a milder taste. In central and eastern Europe and in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Green parsley is often used as a garnish, with potato dishes (boiled buttered potatoes or mashed potato), with rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), with fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews (like beef bourguignon, goulash or chicken paprikash).[11]
In southern and central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used as an ingredient in stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups like chicken soup, green salads or salads like Salade Olivier, on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés. Parsley is a key ingredient in several western Asian salads, e.g., tabbouleh (the national dish of Lebanon, also called terchots by Armenians from Van, historic Armenia). Persillade is a mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley used in French cuisine. Gremolata is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew, ossobuco alla milanese, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Parsley is the most abundantly used herbs in Spanish cuisine. Its preferred uses are in paste and dressing.
Root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisines, where it is used as a soup vegetable in many soups and in meat or vegetable stews and casseroles.

Medicinal uses

  • Parsley tea may be used as an enema.
  • Chinese and German herbologists recommend parsley tea to help control high blood pressure.[citation needed]
  • It is often used as an emmenagogue.
  • Parsley also appears to increase diuresis by inhibiting the Na+/K+-ATPase pump in the kidney, thereby enhancing sodium and water excretion while increasing potassium re absorption.[12] It is also valued as an aquaretic.[citation needed]
  • When crushed and rubbed on the skin, parsley is said[13] to reduce itching of mosquito bites.
  • It is commonly believed[by whom?] that when chewed, parsley can freshen bad breath, especially from eating garlic. However, some people regard this as a myth; it is no more effective than chewing any other substance (such as chewing gum).[14]
  • The essential oil apiole found in all parts of parsley are a proven kidney stimulant.[citation needed]
  • Parsley appears to enhance the body's absorption of manganese, which is important to help build bone. The absorption appears to be especially enhanced when parsley is eaten in conjunction with copper and zinc rich foods such as shellfish and whole grains.[citation needed]

Health risks

  • Parsley should not be consumed in excess by pregnant women. It is safe in normal food quantities, but large amounts can have uterotonic effects.[15]
  • Parsley contains small amounts of oxalic acid, capable of causing kidney stones, though the exact quantities are disputed.[16][17]
  • Parsley seeds contain a high level of apiole oil and are a diuretic.


The word parsley is a merger of the Old English petersilie (which is identical to the contemporary German word for parsley: Petersilie) and the Old French peresil, both derived from Middle Latin petrosilium, from Latin petroselinum,[18] the latinisation of the the Greek πετροσέλινον (petroselinon), "rock-parsley",[19] from πέτρα (petra), "rock, stone",[20] + σέλινον (selinon), "parsley".[21][22] The earliest attested form of the word selinon is the Mycenaean Greek se-ri-no, written in Linear B syllabic script.[23]
The species authorship is commonly cited as Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Nyman ex A.W.Hill, [2][3] a combination published in 1925, but the same name was used earlier (1866) by Fuss, making (Mill.) Fuss the correct author citation.[24]


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