Other Common Names:
The other common names for the herb parsley are Apium petroselinum, Petroselinum lativum, Petersylinge, Curly Parsley, Flat-leaved Parsley and devils oat meal.
Petroselinum, the specific name of the Parsley, from which our English name is derived, is of classic origin which was assigned by Dioscorides. The Ancients distinguished between two plants Selinon, one being the Celery (Apium graveolens) and called heleioselinon or Marsh selinon, and the other - our parsley - Oreoselinon, 'Mountain selinon'or petroselinum, and signifying 'Rock selinon.' This last name in the Middle Ages became corrupted into Petrocilium - this was anglicized into Petersylinge, Persele, Persely and finally Parsley. In the sixteenth century, Parsley was known as A. hortense, but herbalists retained the official name petroselinum. Linnaeus in 1764 named it A. petroselinum, but it is now assigned to the genus Carum.
The main reason for several cultivars of parsley are because of its principle being the common plain-leaved, the curled-leaved, the Hamburg or broadleaved and the celery-leaved. This herb is so familiar we often overlook it for more exotic plants, yet this attractive plate garnish is one of the most versatile medicinal plants around and is absolutely a must have in any well stocked herbal garden. Parsley herb is high in iron content and rich in vitamins A, B, C and trace minerals. Parsley is poisonous to most birds but is very good for animals like curing maladies such as foot-rot in sheep and goats.
Live-long is a perennial herb which grows up to three feet tall. The root-stock is large and fleshy, producing small parsnip-shaped tubers, with a whitish-grey rind, containing a considerable store of nourishment. The stalks are numerous, erect, unbranched, round and solid, generally of a reddish tint, spotted and streaked with a deeper red above. There are numerous leaves which are alternately placed on the stem at short intervals and are flat, fleshy leaves, bluish-green in colour and coarsely toothed.
The lower leaves are bi- or tri-ternately divided. They produce small umbels of white flowers which grows to about two feet (60 cm).Its fruits, commonly called seeds, are small, ovate, and grayish to grayish brown with alternating ribs and furrows. Now two different varieties are grown like Root parsley (var. tuberosum) which has a tender, edible root, whereas leaf parsley is solely cultivated for its leafs, which are chopped and used as a garnish in many European countries; its root is small and tough with a woody texture.
The plant is of South European probably East Mediterranean origin and became popular in more Northern latitudes in the Middle Ages, when it was commonly grown in monasteries and Imperial gardens. The plant is often cultivated as an annual for its foliage, especially in California, Germany, France, Belgium and Hungary. It has been completely naturalized in various parts of England and Scotland, on old walls and rocks.
They prefer a habitat of rich, well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade. Parsley does best in highly fertile, well-drained soil. Tolerated pH range is 4.9 to 8.2. Keep plants watered during dry periods. Thrives in full sun, but will grow in light shade.
Propagate parsley from seed, even though germination is slow and erratic. To speed up germination, soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water. The ideal temperature for Parsley is between 5 to 26 degrees centigrade. With a soil pH of 4.9 nd 8.3 (4.1-31).The plant prefers a rich, moist soil with good drainage. The principal sowing is generally done in April; it then germinates more quickly and provides useful material for cutting throughout the summer. The seed should be but slightly covered, not more than 1/2 inch deep and thinly distributed; if in drills, these should be 1 foot apart. Seedlings usually emerge in 15 to 21 days. Transplant to the garden about a week before your last frost date. (A light frost will not harm the plants.) A well-grown plant will cover nearly a square foot of ground. Keep the soil moist during germination and early growth. The rows should be kept clean of weeds, and frequent dressings may be applied with advantage. Plants produce only a rosette of leaves in the first year. If the growth becomes coarse in the summer, cut off all the leaves and water well. This will induce a new growth of fine leaves, and may always be done when the plants have grown to a good size, as it encourages a stocky growth. Renew the beds every two years, as the plant dies down at the end of the second season. Parsley is a good pot plant for decks, patios, and window boxes in cool locations away from hot sun. A 10- to 12-inch (25 to 30 cm) pot filled with standard potting soil and some aged manure can accommodate one large plant or three dwarf ones. Keep the soil moist and provide a balanced fertilizer once a month.
Harvest the outer leaves for fresh use, drying, or freezing throughout the growing season. If not picked, these leaves become coarse and their flavor diminishes. Gather the leaves early in the morning, when it is still cool. To dry, spread leaves on a screen and leave in a shady, well-ventilated spot. Crumble dried leaves and store in an airtight container. Alternatively, and preferably, freeze leaves on a cookie sheet, then store in freezer containers. Parsley retains its color and flavor better with freezing than drying.
The greenish-yellow or white flowers appear in compound umbels from June to August.
Pests and Diseases
Apart from slugs parsley is generally pest resistant. There is an unfortunate disease that can affect parsley if you see first brown then white spots destroy all your parsley plant. Htis is a fungus and there is no cure.
The most commonly
used parts of the herb
parsley are roots and seeds.
However very rarely the
leaves of the plant are also used.
• The distilled water is used in children when troubled with wind in the stomach or belly, and it is also of service to upgrown persons.
Commercial and Culinary Applications
• When applied to women's breasts that are hard through the curdling of their milk, it abates the hardness and takes away the black and blue marks coming of bruises or falls.
• The seeds contain oil which is used to promote the menstrual flow and to ease menstrual pain.
• It is used in kidney complications and for dysentery problem.
• A tea made from the seeds and the leaves as well as the fresh juice is used for dropsy, jaundice, asthma, coughs and suppressed or difficult menstruation.
• The juice is used to treat conjunctivitis and inflammation of the eyelids.
• The seeds are used in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis.
• Parsley root is taken as a treatment for flatulence, cystitis, and rheumatic conditions.
• It is used as a breath freshener, digestive aid, and in tea to treat high blood pressure and rheumatism.
• It has also been used as a quinine substitute to treat malaria.
• The root is stronger, and may be boiled and eaten like Parsnips.
• The leaves are used as a flavouring to sauces, soups, stuffings, rissoles, minces, etc., and also sprinkled over vegetables or salads.
• The leaves are also dried and powdered as a culinary flavouring in winter, when only a limited supply of fresh Parsley is obtainable.
• In addition to the leaves, the stems are also dried and powdered, both as a culinary colouring and for dye purposes.
• The oil from parsley leaves and seeds is used commercially to flavor cured and canned meats, condiments, sauces, pickles, baked goods, and soups.