Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), Petroselinum crispum
(Mill.) Nyman ex A. W. Hill
Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature
on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate
Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
Parsley, Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Nyman ex A. W. Hill,
is a biennial herb native to Europe and western Asia. Formerly
known as Petroselinum hortense Hoffm., Petroselinum
sativum Hoff., or Carum petroselinum (L.) Benth.
and Hook. f., the plant is extensively cultivated throughout many
parts of the world for its aromatic and attractive leaves. Common
or curly-leaf parsley, var. crispum, and Italian parsley,
var. neapolitanum Danert, are characterized respectively
by curled, crisped leaves and flat, noncrisped leaves. Italian
parsley was formerly classified as Petroselinum crispum
var. latifolium Airy-Shaw. Parsley is grown in the
western United States, Germany, France, Hungary, and several other
European countries. The erect-growing parsley reaches a height
of 0.3 to 0.7 meters and has green leaves and greenish-yellow
flowers in compound umbels. Seeds are smooth, ribbed, and ovate.
The reported life zone for parsley is 5 to 26 degrees centigrade
with an annual precipitation of 0.3 to 4.6 meters and a soil pH
of 4.9 and 8.3 (4.1-31). The plant prefers a rich, moist
soil with good drainage. Seeds germinate very slowly, and therefore
a pretreatment soaking is usually employed to hasten germination.
The plant can be either seeded directly or transplanted. Only
a rosette of leaves is produced in the first year with a flowering
stem appearing early in the second year. Several harvests a year
are feasible. Commercially produced parsley seeds are actually
Parsley is a rich source of vitamin C and yields a fixed oil,
an essential oil, and tannins. The seeds contain both a fixed
and volatile oil, the latter being comprised of apiol, myristicin,
tetramethoxybenzene, -pinene, and other compounds (1.2-35,
14.1-9, 14.1-35). The leaf or herb oil is considered
superior to seed oil, as the volatile characteristics are more
similar to parsley leaves. The fixed oil of parsley contains petroseline
plus oleic, linoleic, palmatic, and other fatty acids (1.2-6).
The seeds, leaves, and essential oils of parsley are utilized
as condiments or seasonings. Fresh leaves are used for garnishing
such food dishes as meat, fish, and vegetables. Fresh, dried,
and dehydrated leaves flavor a wide array of food products, including
salads, sauces, soups, stews, eggs, and processed foods. Parsley-seed
oil is employed as a fragrance in perfumes, soaps, and creams.
The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental edging plant.
As a medicinal plant, parsley has traditionally been used as an
antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, and stomachic
(11.1-101). The plant has also been used as a remedy for
asthma, conjunctivitis, dropsy, fever, and jaundice. The essential
oil of parsley seed has been reported to stimulate hepatic regeneration
New plant forms similar to parsley and of potential economic significance have been obtained by hybridization of parsley and celery, Apium graveolens L. (4.2-179). Turnip-rooted parsley, Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Nyman ex A. W. Hill var. tuberosum (Bernh.) Crov., formerly known as Petroselinum hortense var. radicosum (Alef.), is grown for its enlarged edible roots.
Parsley is generally recognized as safe as a natural seasoning/flavoring
and plant extract (21 CFR sections 182.10, 182.20 ).
For further information:
Parsley - Fact Sheet Image - link to parsley factsheet on the
New Crop server.
[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in
full in the original reference].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997