Apium graveolens) is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae
that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity.
Celery has a
long fibrous stalk tapering into leaves. Depending on location and
cultivar, either its stalks, leaves, or hypocotyl are eaten and used
Celery seed is also used as a spice and its extracts have
been used in herbal medicine.
4.1 North America
5 Harvesting and storage
10.1 Cultural depictions
11 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
Celery leaves are pinnate to bipinnate with rhombic leaflets
3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) long and 2–4 cm
(0.79–1.57 in) broad. The flowers are creamy-white,
2–3 mm (0.079–0.118 in) in diameter, and are produced in
dense compound umbels. The seeds are broad ovoid to globose,
1.5–2 mm (0.059–0.079 in) long and wide. Modern
cultivars have been selected for solid petioles, leaf stalks. A
celery stalk readily separates into "strings" which are bundles of
angular collenchyma cells exterior to the vascular bundles.
Apium graveolens var. graveolens, grows to 1 m
(3.3 ft) tall. It occurs around the globe. The first cultivation
is thought to have happened in the
Mediterranean region, where the
natural habitats were salty and wet, or marshy soils near the coast
where celery grew in agropyro-rumicion-plant communities.
North of the alps wild celery is found only in the foothill zone on
soils with some salt content. It prefers moist or wet, nutrient rich,
muddy soils. It cannot be found in Austria and is increasingly rare in
Apium graveolens var. graveolens
Apium graveolens var. rapaceum
Apium graveolens var. secalinum
First attested in English in 1664, the word "celery" derives from the
French céleri, in turn from Italian seleri, the plural of selero,
which comes from
Late Latin selinon, the latinisation of the Greek
σέλινον (selinon), "celery". The earliest attested form
of the word is the
Mycenaean Greek se-ri-no, written in Linear B
Cross-section of a 'Pascal' celery rib, the petiole
Celery was described by
Carl Linnaeus in Volume One of his Species
Plantarum in 1753.
The plants are raised from seed, sown either in a hot bed or in the
open garden according to the season of the year, and, after one or two
thinnings and transplantings, they are, on attaining a height of
15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in), planted out in deep trenches for
convenience of blanching, which is effected by earthing up to exclude
light from the stems.
In the past, celery was grown as a vegetable for winter and early
spring; it was perceived as a cleansing tonic, welcomed to counter the
salt-sickness of a winter diet based on salted meats without greens.
By the 19th century, the season for celery had been extended, to last
from the beginning of September to late in April.
In North America, commercial production of celery is dominated by the
cultivar called 'Pascal' celery. Gardeners can grow a range of
cultivars, many of which differ from the wild species, mainly in
having stouter leaf stems. They are ranged under two classes, white
and red. The stalks grow in tight, straight, parallel bunches, and are
typically marketed fresh that way, without roots and just a little
green leaf remaining.
The stalks are eaten raw, or as an ingredient in salads, or as a
flavoring in soups, stews, and pot roasts.
In Europe, another popular variety is celeriac (also known as celery
Apium graveolens var. rapaceum, grown because its hypocotyl
forms a large bulb, white on the inside. The bulb could be kept for
months in winter and mostly serves as a main ingredient in soup. It
can also be ground up and used in salads. The leaves are used as
seasoning; the small, fibrous stalks find only marginal
Leaf celery, also known as Chinese celery
Leaf celery (Chinese celery,
Apium graveolens var. secalinum) is a
cultivar from East Asia that grows in marshlands.
Leaf celery is most
likely the oldest cultivated form of celery.
Leaf celery has
characteristically thin skin stalks and a stronger taste and smell
compared to other cultivars. It is used as a flavoring in soups and
sometimes pickled as a side dish.
The wild form of celery is known as "smallage". It has a furrowed
stalk with wedge-shaped leaves, the whole plant having a coarse,
earthy taste, and a distinctive smell. The stalks are not usually
eaten (except in soups or stews in French cuisine), but the leaves may
be used in salads, and its seeds are those sold as a spice. With
cultivation and blanching, the stalks lose their acidic qualities and
assume the mild, sweetish, aromatic taste particular to celery as a
Because wild celery is rarely eaten, yet susceptible to the same
diseases as more well-used cultivars, it is often removed from fields
to help prevent transmission of viruses like celery mosaic virus.
Harvesting and storage
Celery cells under 400x magnification of a light microscope
Harvesting occurs when the average size of celery in a field is
marketable; due to extremely uniform crop growth, fields are harvested
only once. The petioles and leaves are removed and harvested; celery
is packed by size and quality (determined by color, shape,
straightness and thickness of petiole, stalk and midrib[clarification
needed] length and absence of disease, cracks, splits, insect damage
and rot). During commercial harvesting, celery is packaged into
cartons which contain between 36 and 48 stalks and weigh up to
27 kg (60 lb). Under optimal conditions, celery can be
stored for up to seven weeks between 0 to 2 °C (32 to
36 °F). Inner stalks may continue growing if kept at
temperatures above 0 °C (32 °F). Shelf life can be
extended by packaging celery in anti-fogging, micro-perforated shrink
wrap. Freshly cut petioles of celery are prone to decay, which can
be prevented or reduced through the use of sharp blades during
processing, gentle handling, and proper sanitation.
In the past, restaurants used to store celery in a container of water
with powdered vegetable preservative, but it was found that the
sulfites in the preservative caused allergic reactions in some
people. In 1986, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration banned the
use of sulfites on fruits and vegetables intended to be eaten raw.
Celery seed (
Apium graveolens) essential oil
Celery is eaten around the world as a vegetable. In North America the
crisp petiole (leaf stalk) is used. In Europe the hypocotyl is used as
a root vegetable. The leaves are strongly flavored and are used less
often, either as a flavoring in soups and stews or as a dried herb.
Celery, onions, and bell peppers are the "holy trinity" of Louisiana
Creole and Cajun cuisine. Celery, onions, and carrots make up the
French mirepoix, often used as a base for sauces and soups.
a staple in many soups, such as chicken noodle soup.
Celery leaves are frequently used in cooking to add a mild spicy
flavor to foods, similar to, but milder than black pepper. Celery
leaves are suitable dried as a sprinkled on seasoning for use with
baked, fried or roasted fish, meats and as part of a blend of fresh
seasonings suitable for use in soups and stews.
In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds. Actually
very small fruit, these "seeds" yield a valuable essential oil that is
used in the perfume industry. The oil contains the chemical compound
Celery seeds can be used as flavoring or spice, either as
whole seeds or ground.
The seeds can be ground and mixed with salt, to produce celery salt.
Celery salt can be made from an extract of the roots or using dried
Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to
enhance the flavor of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot
dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning.
Celery seeds have been used widely in Eastern herbal traditions such
Aulus Cornelius Celsus
Aulus Cornelius Celsus wrote that celery seeds could
relieve pain in around AD 30. Though scientific evidence is
lacking, it is still used as in ancient times for water retention,
arthritis, and inflammation, and has seen more recent uses for
reducing blood pressure and muscular spasms and as a mosquito
Celery, raw (
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
67 kJ (16 kcal)
2.97 g (including fibre)
Vitamin A equiv.
Pantothenic acid (B5)
μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Celery is used in weight-loss diets, where it provides low-calorie
dietary fibre bulk.
Celery is often incorrectly thought to be a
"negative-calorie food", the digestion of which burns more calories
than the body can obtain. In fact, eating celery provides positive net
calories, with digestion consuming only a small proportion of the
calories taken in.
Celery is among a small group of foods (headed by peanuts) that appear
to provoke the most severe allergic reactions; for people with celery
allergy, exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
The allergen does not appear to be destroyed at cooking temperatures.
Celery root—commonly eaten as celeriac, or put into drinks—is
known to contain more allergen than the stalk. Seeds contain the
highest levels of allergen content.
Exercise-induced anaphylaxis may
be exacerbated. An allergic reaction also may be triggered by eating
foods that have been processed with machines that have previously
processed celery, making avoiding such foods difficult. In contrast
with peanut allergy being most prevalent in the US, celery allergy is
most prevalent in Central Europe. In the European Union, foods
that contain or may contain celery, even in trace amounts, must be
clearly marked as such.
Polyynes can be found in
Apiaceae vegetables like celery, and their
extracts show cytotoxic activities.
Celery contains phenolic
acid, which is an antioxidant.
Apiin and apigenin can be extracted from celery and parsley. Lunularin
is a dihydrostilbenoid found in common celery.
The main chemicals responsible for the aroma and taste of celery are
butylphthalide and sedanolide.
Selinunte didrachm coin bearing a selinon (celery) leaf, circa
Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf note that celery leaves and
inflorescences were part of the garlands found in the tomb of pharaoh
Tutankhamun (died 1323 BC), and celery mericarps dated to the
seventh century BC were recovered in the Heraion of Samos. However,
they note "since A. graveolens grows wild in these areas, it is hard
to decide whether these remains represent wild or cultivated forms."
Only by classical times is it certain that celery was cultivated.
M. Fragiska mentions an archeological find of celery dating to the 9th
century BC, at Kastanas; however, the literary evidence for ancient
Greece is far more abundant. In Homer's Iliad, the horses of the
Myrmidons graze on wild celery that grows in the marshes of Troy, and
in Odyssey, there is mention of the meadows of violet and wild celery
surrounding the cave of Calypso.
In the Capitulary of Charlemagne, compiled ca. 800, apium appears, as
does olisatum, or alexanders, among medicinal herbs and vegetables the
Frankish emperor desired to see grown. At some later point in
medieval Europe celery displaced alexanders.
Celery's late arrival in the English kitchen is an end-product of the
long tradition of seed selection needed to reduce the sap's bitterness
and increase its sugars. By 1699,
John Evelyn could recommend it in
his Acetaria. A Discourse of Sallets: "Sellery, apium Italicum, (and
of the Petroseline Family) was formerly a stranger with us (nor very
long since in Italy) is an hot and more generous sort of Macedonian
Persley or Smallage...and for its high and grateful
Taste is ever
plac'd in the middle of the Grand Sallet, at our Great Men's tables,
and Praetors feasts, as the Grace of the whole Board".
Celery makes a minor appearance in colonial American gardens; its
culinary limitations are reflected in the observation by the author of
A Treatise on Gardening, by a Citizen of Virginia that it is "one of
the species of parsley." Its first extended treatment in print was
in Bernard M'Mahon's American Gardener's Calendar (1806). After
the mid-19th century, continued selections for refined crisp texture
and taste brought celery to American tables, where it was served in
celery vases to be salted and eaten raw.
Apium illustration from Barbarus Apuleius' Herbarium, c. 1400.
A chthonian symbol among the ancient Greeks, celery was said to have
sprouted from the blood of Kadmilos, father of the Cabeiri, chthonian
divinities celebrated in Samothrace, Lemnos, and Thebes. The spicy
odor and dark leaf color encouraged this association with the cult of
death. In classical Greece, celery leaves were used as garlands for
the dead, and the wreaths of the winners at the
Isthmian Games were
first made of celery before being replaced by crowns made of pine.
According to Pliny the Elder in Achaea, the garland worn by the
winners of the sacred
Nemean Games was also made of celery. The
Ancient Greek colony of Selinous (Greek: Σελινοῦς, Selinous),
on Sicily, was named after wild parsley that grew abundantly there;
Selinountian coins depicted a parsley leaf as the symbol of the city.
The perennial BBC television series Doctor Who featured the Fifth
Doctor (played by Peter Davison, from 1981–84), who wore a sprig of
celery as a corsage.
The name "celery" retraces the plant's route of successive adoption in
European cooking, as the English "celery" (1664) is derived from the
French céleri coming from the Lombard term, seleri, from the Latin
selinon, borrowed from Greek.
Apium virus Y
Celery mosaic virus
List of vegetables
Vallisneria americana—wild celery
Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
Agricultural Research Service
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
"Celery". Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). 1911.
Apium graveolens in
Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA)
Quality standards (in PDF), from the USDA website
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garlic / Chinese
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Kinh gioi (Vietnamese balm)
Limnophila aromatica (rice-paddy herb)
Aonori (ground seaweed)
Amchoor (mango powder)
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Grains of Selim
Pomegranate seed (anardana)
Shiso seeds / berries
Peppercorn (black / green / white)
Beau monde seasoning
Herbes de Provence
Jamaican jerk spice
Montreal steak seasoning
Old Bay Seasoning
Pumpkin pie spice
Ras el hanout
Lists and related topics
Lists of herbs and spices
TRP channel modulators
Sanshool (ginger, Sichuan and melegueta peppers)
Allyl isothiocyanate (mustard, radish, horseradish, wasabi)
CR gas (dibenzoxazepine; DBO)
CS gas (2-chlorobenzal malononitrile)
Farnesyl thiosalicylic acid
Ligustilide (celery, Angelica acutiloba)
Linalool (Sichuan pepper, thyme)
Methyl salicylate (wintergreen)
Oleocanthal (olive oil)
Paclitaxel (Pacific yew)
Polygodial (Dorrigo pepper)
Shogaols (ginger, Sichuan and melegueta peppers)
Thiopropanal S-oxide (onion)
Umbellulone (Umbellularia californica)
Adhyperforin (St John's wort)
Hyperforin (St John's wort)
Cooling Agent 10
Rutamarin (Ruta graveolens)
Steviol glycosides (e.g., stevioside) (Stevia rebaudiana)
Sweet tastants (e.g., glucose, fructose, sucrose; indirectly)
Rutamarin (Ruta graveolens)
Triptolide (Tripterygium wilfordii)
Sanshool (ginger, Sichuan and melegueta peppers)
Bisandrographolide (Andrographis paniculata)
Camphor (camphor laurel, rosemary, camphorweed, African blue basil,
Capsaicin (chili pepper)
Carvacrol (oregano, thyme, pepperwort, wild bergamot, others)
Dihydrocapsaicin (chili pepper)
Eugenol (basil, clove)
Evodiamine (Euodia ruticarpa)
Homocapsaicin (chili pepper)
Homodihydrocapsaicin (chili pepper)
Low pH (acidic conditions)
Nonivamide (PAVA) (PAVA spray)
Nordihydrocapsaicin (chili pepper)
Paclitaxel (Pacific yew)
Phorbol esters (e.g., 4α-PDD)
Piperine (black pepper, long pepper)
Polygodial (Dorrigo pepper)
Rutamarin (Ruta graveolens)
Resiniferatoxin (RTX) (Euphorbia resinifera/pooissonii)
Shogaols (ginger, Sichuan and melegueta peppers)
Thymol (thyme, oregano)
Tinyatoxin (Euphorbia resinifera/pooissonii)
Cannabigerolic acid (cannabis)
See also: Receptor/signaling modulators • Ion channel modulators
Plant List: kew-2644053