Articles

Petroselinum crispum (Miller) Nyman ex A.W. Hill

Petroselinum crispum (Miller) Nyman ex A.W. Hill

Family

Umbelliferae

Synonyms

Petroselinum vulgare J. Hill, Petroselinum hortense Hoffm., Petroselinum sativum Hoffm

Vernacular Names

English

Parsley.

Indonesia Peterseli (General), patraseli (Javanese), potrasoli (Sundanese).
Thailand Phakchi-farang (Bangkok).
Cambodia

Vannsuy baraing.

Vietnam

Rau m[uf]i, m[uf]i t[aa]y.

French Persil.

Geographical Distributions

Petroselinum crispum probably originated in the western Mediterranean. It occurs naturally or naturalised in most Mediterranean (including northern Africa) and many temperate countries. Petroselinum crispum is an old crop, which was already well-known in classical Greece and Rome. It is widely grown for its leaves in most Mediterranean countries, Europe and North America. In the tropics, including Southeast Asia, it is cultivated on a small scale at higher elevations. Forms with a thickened, edible taproot are of recent origin and were probably developed around 1500 AD in northern Germany. Their cultivation is concentrated in north-western and eastern Europe and among North Americans originating from that area.

Description

Petroselinum crispum is an erect, copiously branched, biennial to perennial herb that can reach up to 30-100 cm tall, aromatic in all parts and smooth. The root system is slender, fibrous, with taproot measures up to 1 m long, sometimes thickened and with a radical rosette of leaves when young. The stem is cylindrical, grooved and hollow.

The leaves are arranged alternately, 1-3-pinnately compound, dark green, glossy, flat or curled and with sheath at the base. The petiole is longest in the lower leaves. The pinnae is long-stalked, with obovate-cuneate to finely linear leaflets, which are divided into acute segments. The higher leaves are gradually less divided while the topmost leaf consists of a few acute segments only.

The inflorescence is a terminal or axillary compound umbel. The 1-3-foliolate bracts are rather short. The peduncle is up to 12 cm long. There are 5-20 primary rays measuring 1-5 cm long. The bracteoles are 3-8-foliolate. There are 3-15 secondary rays (pedicels) which are 2-5 mm long. The flowers are small, yellow-green and bisexual. The sepal is obscure. The petal consists of 5 petals which are suborbicular to obovate, measuring up to 1 mm x 0.5 mm and submarginate with an inflexed apical lobe. There are 5 stamens. The pistil is with an inferior and 2-carpelled ovary where each carpel is with a thickened stylopodium, a style and a small spherical stigma.

The fruit is a schizocarp, measuring 2-3 mm long, ovoid and it splits into 2 mericarps when ripens with each having 5 narrow ribs.

Ecology / Cultivation

Petroselinum crispum tolerates temperatures of 3°C to over 24°C, but grows best between 7-16°C. Even in areas with a fairly cold winter, e.g. the warmer parts of Canada, it can be left in the ground until the next season if seed is required. In the tropics, it is generally grown above 600 m altitude, with growth rate reducing at lower altitudes. It is cultivated in Malaysia at 2000 m and in the Philippines at 600 m altitude. Adequate moisture supply is most important during germination and early growth; for a good crop, precipitation of at least 500 mm is needed. Petroselinum crispum thrives in well-drained fertile loams high in organic matter, with pH ranging from 4.9-8.2.

Line Drawing / Photograph

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 13: Spices.