Fine Art

Smyrnium olusatrum

Smyrnium olusatrum (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Campanulids
Ordo: Apiales

Familia: Apiaceae
Subfamilia: Apioideae
Tribus: Smyrnieae
Genus: Smyrnium
Species: Smyrnium olusatrum

Smyrnium olusatrum L., Sp. Pl. 1: 262 (1753).

Smyrnium maritimum Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 168 (1796), nom. illeg.
Smyrnium vulgare Gray, Nat. Arr. Brit. Pl. 2: 525 (1821 publ. 1822), nom. illeg.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Regional: Northern Europe (introduced)
Great Britain, Ireland.
Regional: Middle Europe (introduced)
Regional: Southwestern Europe
Baleares (Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca), Corse, France, Portugal, Sardegna, Spain.
Regional: Southeastern Europe
Albania, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Sicilia (Malta, Sicily), Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia (Croatia).
Continental: Africa
Regional: Northern Africa
Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia.
Regional: Macaronesia
Azores (Sao Miguel Isl., Faial), Canary Islands (Tenerife, Hierro), Madeira.
Regional: Northeast Tropical Africa
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: Western Asia
Cyprus, East Aegean Islands, Lebanon-Syria (Lebanon, Syria), Palestine (Israel, Jordan), Turkey.
Continental: Australasia (introduced)
Regional: New Zealand
New Zealand North.
Continental: Southern America (introduced)
Regional: Caribbean

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 262. Reference page.


Hassler, M. 2018. Smyrnium olusatrum. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2018. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Sep 10. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2018. Smyrnium olusatrum. Published online. Accessed: Sep 10 2018.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Smyrnium olusatrum in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Sep 10. Reference page. 2018. Smyrnium olusatrum. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 Sep 10.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Smyrnium olusatrum in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Gespenst-Gelbdolde
Ελληνικά: Αγριοσέλινο, Σμέρνο
English: Alexanders, Alisanders, Horse Parsley, Smyrnium, Black Lovage
español: Apio caballar
suomi: Aleksanterinsiipiputki
français: Maceron, Maceron Potager, Grande Ache, Persil de Cheval, Gros Persil de Macédoine
italiano: Corinoli Comune, Macerone, Smirnio
Nederlands: Zwartmoeskervel

Smyrnium olusatrum, common name Alexanders,[1] is an edible cultivated flowering plant of the family Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae).[2] It is also known as alisanders, horse parsley, black lovage (from the colour of the seeds) and smyrnium.[3] It was known to Theophrastus (9.1) and Pliny the Elder (N.H. 19.48).[4]


Alexanders is a stout biennial growing to 150 centimetres (59 in) high, with a solid stem which becomes hollow and grooved with age.[5] The leaves are bluntly toothed, the segments ternately divided the segments flat, not fleshy.[6]

The plant is common on waste ground and field margins, especially near the sea, where it may also be found on cliff paths and near the shore.[7][8]

Alexanders is native to continental Europe and has long been naturalised in Britain and Ireland where it is widely dispersed and - in addition to other disturbed habitats - commonly found on the sites of medieval monastery gardens as a persistent relic of former cultivation.[2] Irish localities include the counties of Down, Antrim and Londonderry and throughout most of Ireland.[7][9]

Alexanders is native to the Mediterranean but is able to thrive farther north.[2] It was a highly popular herb during the time of Alexander the Great.[10] The plant was introduced to the British Isles by the Romans, who called it the ‘pot herb of Alexandria.’
Culinary uses

Every part of the plant is edible. The flowers are yellow-green in colour and arranged in umbels,[5] and its fruits are black. It flowers from April to June.[5] Alexanders is intermediate in flavor between celery and parsley.[2] It was once used in many dishes, either blanched,[11] or not, but it has now been replaced by celery. The black seeds have a taste that has been described as both spicy and peppery.

They were used in medieval cuisine in place of a bitter type of celery. One 17th century text describes young shoots used in salads or a "vernal pottage" and an early 18th century recipe recorded by Caleb Threlkeld for Irish Lenten Potage includes alexanders, watercress and nettles. Alexanders fell out of favour in the 18th century after celery started being mass produced to replace wild herbs and vegetables. Alexanders are not commonly used as a food product in the modern era,[2] but have found some renewed use in exotic "foraged" food recipes and restaurants.

Look for this tall plant on cliff paths; the first seaside greenery of the year. Roman soldiers would carry the plant on long journeys, as they could eat the leaves, the stems, the roots, and the buds.[12]
Fodder plant

Alexanders is a feed source much appreciated by horses.

USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Smyrnium olusatrum". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine. The Oxford companion to food. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. 805. Print.
Ravindran, P. N. (2017). The encyclopedia of herbs and spices. Wallingford, England: CAB International. p. 117. ISBN 9781780643151.
Pliny (1856). "Book XX. Anise—sixty-one remedies". The Natural History of Pliny. Vol. 4. translators John Bostock, Henry Riley. London: Henry Bohn. pp. 271–274. OCLC 504358830.
Parnell, J. and Curtis, T. 2012. Webb's An Irish Flora. p.425 Cork University Press ISBN 978-185918-4783
Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press Ltd. Daldalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7.
Hackney, P.(Ed) 1992 Stewart and Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Institute of Irish Studies The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0-85389-446-9.
Clapham, A.R., Turin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-04656-4.
Scannell, M.P. and Synnott, D.M. 1972. Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland. Dublin Stationery Office.
Sanderson, Helen; Renfrew, Jane M. (2005). Prance, Ghillean; Nesbitt, Mark (eds.). The Cultural History of Plants. Routledge. p. 113. ISBN 0415927463.
MM. Vilmorin-Andrieux; W.Robinson. 1885/undated. The vegetable garden: Illustrations, descriptions, and culture of the garden vegetables of cold and temperate climates, English Edition. Jeavons-Leler Press and Ten Speed Press. 1920 edition in Internet Archive
Ginn, Peter and Goodman, Ruth 2013. Tudor Monastery Farm. Random House (BBC Digital). ISBN 9781448141722.

Plants, Fine Art Prints

Plants Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World