Smyrnium olusatrum

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Smyrnium olusatrum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Smyrnium
Species: S. olusatrum
Binomial name
Smyrnium olusatrum

Smyrnium olusatrum L, common name Alexanders is a cultivated flowering plant, belonging to the family Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae).[1] 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).[citation needed]

Alexanders is native to the Mediterranean but is able to thrive farther north.[1] The flowers are yellow-green in colour, and its fruits are black. It grows to 50 to 120 cm high with a hollow and grooved stem.[2] Alexanders is intermediate in flavor between celery and parsley.[1] It was once used in many dishes, either blanched,[3] or not, but it has now been replaced by celery.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 120 to 150 cm tall.

It is now almost forgotten as a foodstuff, although it still grows wild in many parts of Europe, including Britain.[1] It is common among the sites of medieval monastery gardens.

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.[4]

Alexanders is a feedstuff much appreciated by horses.[citation needed]


Ireland: Counties Down, Antrim and Londonderry.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine. The Oxford companion to food. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. 805. Print. Retrieved Aug. 09, 2010, from [1]
  2. ^ Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press (W. Tempest) Ltd, Dundalk. ISBN 085221317.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Ginn, Peter and Goodman, Ruth 2013. Tudor Monastery Farm. Random House (BBC Digital). ISBN 9781448141722.
  5. ^ Hackney, P. (Ed) Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Third Edition. 1992. Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0853894469(HB)