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Celery (Apium graveolens L.)


pharmaceuticalHerba Apii graveolentis, Fructus Apii graveolentis
AlbanianSelinë, Selinoja
كَرَفْس, كَرْفَس
Karfas, Karafs
ArmenianԼախոտ Կարոս
Lakhod Garos, Laxot Karos
AzeriKərəviz, Ətirli kərəvüz
Кәрәвиз, Әтирли кәрәвүз
BasqueApi, Perretxilleze
Bengaliঅজগন্ধা, চিলুরি
Ajagandha, Chiluri
ChineseHon kun, Kun cai
芹菜 [kàhn choi], 西芹 [sài kàhn]
Kahn choi, Sai kahn
芹菜 [qín cài]
Qin cai
Mit (?)
CzechCeler, Miřík celer
Danish(Rod) Selleri, Bladselleri
DutchSelderij, Selderie, Bladselderij, Snijselderij, Struikselderij, Juffrouwmerk, Eppe
EnglishCeleriac (root celery)
EstonianAedseller, Seller
FinnishRuokaselleri, Selleri
GaelicSeilearaidh, Lus-na-smàileag, Soilire
Niakhuri, Niaxuri
GermanSellerie, Eppich
GreekΣέληνο, Σέλινο
Greek (Old)Σέλινον
Hebrewכרפס ריחני, סלרי
כַּרְפַּס רֵיחָנִי, סֶלֶּרִי
Karpass rehani, Seleri
Hindiआजमोदा, बड़ी अजमूद
Ajmoda, Bari ajmud
IcelandicSellerí, Selja
Korean셀러리, 셀러리 시드
Selleori, Sellori, Selleori sidu
Laoຜັກເລີລີ່, ຜັກຊາເລີລີ, ຜັກແຊນເລີຣີ, ຜັກຊີຊ້າງ
Pak Ler Li, Pak saloeli, Pak sanloeri, Pak Si Sang
LatinAccia, Apium, Silum
LithuanianValgomasis salierai
MacedonianЦелер, Ќеревис
Celer, Ćerevis
MalayDaun Sop, Elderi
Nepaliअजमोडा, ज्गली ज्वानो
Ajamoda, Jangli jvano
PapiamentoSèlder, Sèldu
PolishSeler zwyczajny; Nasiona selera (celery seeds); Seler korzeniowy (root celery)
PortugueseAipo, Salsão
ProvençalApi, Celeri
RomanianȚelinăŢelină, Țelină-rădăcinăŢelină-rădăcină (root celery), Țelină-tulpinăŢelină-tulpină (leaf celery)
Sinhalaසැල්දිරි, සල්දිරි
SlovakZeler voňavý; Zelerové semená (fruits), Zeler
SrananSupuwiwiri, Supu’wiri
Thaiคึ่นช่ายฝรั่ง, คึ่นฉ่าย, เซเลอรี่
Khuen chai farang, Khuen chai, Seleri
TurkishKereviz, Kerfes, Yabanî kerevizi
UkrainianСелера, Селера пахуча
Selera, Selera pakhucha
Urduسیلری, اجمود
Seleri, Ajmod
UzbekSelder, Qarafs
Селдер, Қарафс
VietnameseCần tây
Can tay
Yiddishצעלניק, סעלדערײ, סעלערי, װאָרצל־סעלעריע
Tselnik, Selderey, Seleri; Vortsel-selerie (celeriac)

Apium graveolens: Celery leaf
Celery leaf
Apium graveolens: Celery seeds
Celery fruits. See ajwain for a picture in larger scale.
Used plant part

Leaves and root; both are used as vegetable or spice. Celery fruits, often termed seeds, are a strong though rather uncommon spice.

Plant family

Apiaceae (parsley family).

Sensory quality

All plant parts are strongly aromatic.
Compared to the wild form and the types used by the Romans (see also silphion), modern cultivars are significantly depleted in bitter constituents (see zedoary for an account on bitter spices).

Main consti­tuents

Celery oil is domi­nated by terpenes, mostly limonene (70 to 80%) and the sesqui­terpenes β‑selinene (10%) and humulene; but its charac­teristic fra­grance is caused by phthalides (3‑butyl­phthalid and its 5,6‑dihydro derivate sedanen­olid), al­though the latter occur only in traces.

Apium graveolens: Celery flowers
Celery umbels
Apium graveolens: Withered celery flowers and immatur fruits
Celery umbel with withering flowers

The furano‑cou­marin berg­aptene is a potent photo­sensitizer and may cause photo-dermatitis (skin irri­tation on light exposure) in field workers.


Europe, culti­vated in the Medi­terranean region since at least 3000 years. Culti­vation spread to Central and Northern Europe as a con­sequence of the edicts of Charle­magne (see lovage).


In Latin language, the celery was called sedano (which gave rise to celery and its Italian, German and French cognates, see also parsley) or apium, which is found in Catalan and Provençal api and the regional German word Eppich. The ultimate origin of both names is dark.

The species name means strongly smelling (Latin gravis grave, heavy and olens smelling from the verb olere)

Selected Links

Ilkas und Ullis Kochecke: Blattsellerie ( via A Pinch of Celery Seeds ( Pflanzen des Capitulare de Villis: Sellerie (

Apium graveolens: Flowering celery plants
Flowering celery plants
Apium graveolens: Celery inflorescence
Celery flower
Apium graveolens: Celery plant in flower
Flowering celery plant
Apium graveolens: Celery plant
Sterile celery plant
Apium graveolens: Wild celery umbels
Wild celery flowers
Celery has been known in the Medi­terranean since millennia. Homeros mentions them in his epics (see poppy and parsley); it was con­sidered a sacred plant in the classical period of Greece. It is less known, though, that celery leaves were worn by the winners of the Nemean Games, similar to the use of bay leaves at the Olympic and the Pythian Games. It should be noticed however, that the botanic identity of the plant in question is not fully clear; some literature identifies it as wild parsley. In my opinion, the Greeks hardly ever made a clear distinction between celery and parsley.

The Nemean Games were conducted every second year, starting in 573, in the small city of Nemea in Southern Greece (Pelopon­nesus pen­insula), where, according to the legend, the great hero Hera­kles [Ἡρακλῆς], son of Zeus [Ζεύς], had performed the first of his labours and killed the Nemean Lion. The Isthmian Games, on the other hand, were associated with the sea god Poseidon [Ποσειδῶν] and took place near the city of Corinth. The Isthmian Games were established in 581 and were celebrated in the same years as the Nemean Games, which took place only a few kilo­meters away. The four Pan-Hellenic religious festivals played an important historic rôle in providing a unifying cultural link between the many independent, and often warring, Greek city-states.

The Romans valued celery more for cooking than for religion; consequently, celery fruits and leaves are quite more common flavourings in the famous Apicius cookbook (see Silphion). On the other hand, much superstition was connected with it: The plant was thought to bring bad fortune under certain circumstances, and was generally associated with Death and Underworld.

Today, celery is a popular herb and vegetable in Europe; the leaves are sometimes chopped and used as a garnish (similar to parsley), but more frequently cooked in soups or sauces to improve the taste. For the latter purpose, the root (often in combination with bay or boldo leaves, parsley root and lovage leaves) is also suitable (see parsley on the topic of herb bundles). Additionally, the cooked root can be eaten as a vegetable. In England and the US, the variety of celery with fleshy stems is more popular than root celery; the latter (also called celeriac) is more commonly found on the European continent.

Celery plays quite an important part in the Creole cookery of New Orleans, where celery stalks show up frequently in dishes like gumbo (see sassafras).

Celery fruits (often called celery seeds) have a similar, but much stronger aroma. They can be ground and mixed with salt (celery salt, though industrially it is often made from celery root extract) to make dosage easier. The fruits are slightly bitter (some say, comparable to fenugreek), which limits their usage; but even so they are a great addition to cooked vegetables. They are rarely used, though they have been common in the days of the Roman Empire. Because of their heat-resistance and unique flavour, they are a rewarding spice for those who like culinary experiments.

In North Eastern India, the dried fruits of a related plant (radhuni) are used as a culinary spice, e. g., in the Bengali spice mixture panch phoron (see nigella). Celery fruits are a working substitute for that spice, better than anything else you will get outside of Bengal. Celery fruits are sometimes reported in curry powder (see curry leaves for details), probably as a substitute for radhuni.

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