Umbelliferae Apium graveolens L. (Dulce group)
Source: Magness et al. 1971
Celery is grown for the thick, succulent leaf stalks or petioles which are esteemed as salad and to a lesser extent as a cooked vegetable. The leaves rise from a crown at ground level. Leaf stems are up to a foot long, with the greatly compound leaf blades extending an additional foot during growth. Plants are usually started in beds, but seed may be field sown in cool climates. Outer leaves develop first and to largest size, inner leaf stems are smaller and more succulent. Formerly most of the celery was blanched by placing heavy paper or boards against each side of the rows to exclude most of the light. At present, green or non-blanched celery is mainly marketed. Outermost leaves, particularly if the stems are very coarse or scarred, are frequently removed before packing. Plants must be grown rapidly for most succulent and desirable quality.
Production in U.S.: 700,000 tons.
Use: Mainly salad, also flavoring in soups, stews, juices, and as cooked vegetable.
Part of plant consumed: Mainly petioles. Leaf blades used sparingly as flavoring.