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Smyrnium olusatrum L, common name Alexanders is a cultivated flowering plant, belonging to the family Umbelliferae. It is also known as alisanders, horse parsley and smyrnium. It was known to Theophrastus (9.1) and Pliny the Elder (N.H. 19.48).
Alexanders is native to the Mediterranean but is able to thrive farther north. The flowers are yellow-green in colour, and its fruits are black. It grows a hight of 50 to 120 cms with a hollow and grooved stem. Alexanders is intermediate in flavor between celery and parsley. It was once used in many dishes, either blanched, or not, but it has now been replaced by celery. It was also used as a medicinal herb. In the correct conditions, Alexanders will grow up to four or five feet tall.
Look out for this tall plant on cliff paths, the first seaside greenery of the year. The Romans brought it with them to eat the leaves, the stems, the roots, and the buds.
Alexanders is a feedstuff much appreciated by horses.
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