Alexanders1

Smyrnium olusatrum

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Description

Smyrnium olusatrum

Hardy culinary herb used since ancient times. The whole plant is edible, with a taste between celery and parsley, and is good for attracting beneficial insects.

  • Form: Herb
  • Plant Family: Apiaceae
  • Lifecycle: Biennial
  • Use 1. Culinary: The whole plant is edible, with a taste between celery and parsley. The leaves, stems and young shoots can be used like celery, raw in salads or cooked in soups, though they benefit from blanching (mulching to prevent light) to reduce bitterness. The flower buds can used raw and the seeds can be used as a pepper substitute. The roots can be boiled and used in soups.
  • Use 2. Medicinal: A good bitter herb to aid digestion
  • Growing Conditions: most soil types, full sun or part shade, some moisture preferred, but doing well unirrigated here in Hawke’s Bay
  • Height x Spread: 1.3m x 60cm
  • Hardiness: hardy to -15
  • Flowering time: variable but around midsummer
  • Pollination: self-fertile
  • Biodiversity value: attracts bees and other beneficial insects, including predators of aphids
  • Native to: Mediterranean (but naturalised across Europe)
  • Food Forest Fit: Herbaceous layer. Excellent self seeder producing a carpet of distinctive seedlings which can be easily removed if desired or allowed to colonise an area.
  • Fun Fact: The herb was introduced to Britain by the Romans who called it the pot herb of Alexandria, and it was widely used in Medieval cuisine.
  • Pot size: 9cm

 

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