Apium graveolens secalinum
Common Name: Leaf Celery
Apium graveolens secalinum is a cultivated form of the wild celery that has been selected especially for its edible leaves and thin stems.
Leaf celery is often cultivated in many regions of the world, mainly for its edible leaves which are used as a flavouring in soups, salads etc
If the plant is infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[
A cultivated form of garden origin
Not known in the wild.
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Plants grow best in a climate with a mean temperature in the range 16 - 21°c, leaf growth is poor at higher temperatures, low temperatures can induce the plant to run to seed prematurely. Plants with 5 or more true leaves will flower following exposure to temperatures between 5 - 10°c for 10 days or more[
Prefers a rich light moist soil with some shade in summer[
]. Prefers a sunny position and a pH between 6.6 and 6.8[
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.2 to 8.3.
Leaf celery is often cultivated in many regions of the world, mainly for its edible leaves which are used as a flavouring in soups, salads etc. There are some named varieties and these can supply fresh leaves from late spring to the autumn[
A good companion for leeks, tomatoes, French beans and brassicas[
Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong savoury flavour, they can be used as a flavouring in soups etc[
]. The leaves can also be eaten raw but many people find the flavour too strong[
]. They are more acceptable raw when used as a minor ingredient in a mixed salad[
Seed - a flavouring. An essential oil from the seed is also used as a flavouring.
Although not as medicinally active as wild celery, the cultivated forms of celery also have the same medicinal properties and, when used as an item of the diet, will have a similar effect upon the body. These medicinal uses are as follows:-
Wild celery has a long history of medicinal and food use. it is an aromatic bitter tonic herb that reduces blood pressure, relieves indigestion, stimulates the uterus and is anti-inflammatory[
The ripe seeds, herb and root are aperient, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, nervine, stimulant and tonic[
]. Wild celery is said to be useful in cases of hysteria, promoting restfulness and sleep and diffusing through the system a mild sustaining influence[
The herb should not be prescribed for pregnant women[
Seeds purchased for cultivation purposes are often dressed with a fungicide, they should not be used for medicinal purposes[
The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried[
The whole plant is harvested when fruiting and is usually liquidized to extract the juice[
The seeds are harvested as they ripen and are dried for later use[
An essential oil obtained from the plant has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Some of its constituents have antispasmodic, sedative and anticonvulsant actions. It has been shown to be of value in treating high blood pressure[
A homeopathic remedy is made from the herb[
]. It is used in treating rheumatism and kidney complaints[
The growing plant is an insect repellent, it repels the cabbage white butterfly so is a good companion for brassicas[
Seed - germination can be erratic and the seed is best surface sow late winter in a greenhouse. The maincrop can be sown as late as mid spring. Outdoor sown seed rarely germinates satisfactorily[
]. Germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring. The seed can harbour certain diseases of celery, it is usually treated by seed companies before being sold but if you save your own seed you should make sure that only seed from healthy plants is used[