Parsley

Botanical Name :Petroselinum crispum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Petroselinum
Species: P. crispum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Name :Parsley

Habitat :Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as an herb, a spice and a vegetable.

Description:
Garden parsley is a bright green, hairless, biennial, herbaceous plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas.]

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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 taproot 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. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.

In cultivation, parsley is subdivided into several cultivar groups depending on the form of the plant, which is related to its end use. These are often treated as botanical varieties, but are cultivated selections, not of natural botanical origin.

Leaf parsley:
The two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf (i.e.) (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. Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some as it is easier to cultivate, being more tolerant of both rain and sunshine, and has a stronger flavor (though this is disputed), while curly leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing.   A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick, celery-like leaf stems

 

Root Parsley:...CLICK & SEE
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 seldom used in Britain and the United States, root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisine, where it is used in soups and stews.

 

Though root parsley looks similar to the parsnip, it tastes quite different. Parsnips are among the closest relatives of parsley in the family Apiaceae, but the similarity of the names is a coincidence, parsnip meaning “forked turnip”; it is not closely related to real turnips.

Cultivation:
Parsley grows best in moist, well drained soil, with full sun. It grows best between 22–30 °C, and is usually grown from seed. Germination is slow, taking four to six weeks, and often difficult because of furanocoumarins in its seed coatPlants 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.

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Edible Uses:
Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. 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 on potato dishes (boiled or mashed potatoes), on rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), on fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews (like beef bourguignon, goulash or chicken paprikash).

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English: Mashed potatoes with a parsley leaf. ...
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Escargot cooked with garlic and parsley butter...

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 such as chicken soup, green salads or salads such as salade Olivier, and on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés. Parsley is a key ingredient in several Middle Eastern salads such as tabbouleh. 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.

Root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisines, where it is used as a vegetable in many soups, stews and casseroles.

Medicinal Uses:
Chew the leaf raw to freshen the breath and promote healthy skin. Infuse for a digestive tonic.  Bruised leaves have been used to treat tumors, insect bites, lice and skin parasites and contusions.  Parsley tea at one time was used to treat dysentery and gallstones.  Other traditional uses reported include the treatment of diseases of the prostate, liver and spleen, in the treatment of anemia, arthritis and cancers, and as an expectorant, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, laxative and as a scalp lotion to stimulate hair growth.   Use in a poultice as an antiseptic dressing for sprains, wounds and insect bites.  Decoct the root for kidney troubles and as a mild laxative.  Apply juice to reduce swellings.  It also stimulates appetite and increases blood flow to digestive organs, as well as reducing fever. Another constituent, the flavonoid apigenin, reduces inflammation by inhibiting histamine and is also a free-radical scavenger.   The seed, when decocted, has been used for intermittent fevers.  It has also traditionally used as a carminative to decrease flatulence and colic pain.  The seeds have a much stronger diuretic action than the leaves and may be substituted for celery seeds in the treatment of gout, rheumatism and arthritis.  It is often included in “slimming” teas because of its diuretic action.   Oil of the seed (5-15 drops) has been used to bring on menstruation.  Avoid if weak kidneys

Other Uses:
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. Birds such as the goldfinch feed on the seeds.

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Photograph of caterpillar of the Black Swallow...
Photograph of caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail en ( Papilio polyxenes en ) on its Curly Parsley en ( Petroselinum crispum en ) host plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may click to learn more  uses of Parsley…..(1)l….(2)

Known Hazards:
Parsley should not be consumed in excess by pregnant women. It is safe in normal food quantities, but large amounts can have uterotonic effects.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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