Smyrnium olusatrum

Smyrnium olusatrum             Family: Apiaceae
(SMURH-nee-um  oh-LEW-sah-trum)

Common name: alexanders; black lovage; horse parsley
Zone: 6 – 10
Height: 3-4 ft (90-120cm) Spread: 2-2.5 ft (60-75cm)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: average; well-draining
Water: moderate    

Description: An herbaceous perennial with an upright growth habit. Deep green leaves are deeply lobed. Umbels of yellow-green flowers in early to mid-summer followed by black aromatic seeds.


Special Notes: Native to the Mediterranean. Once grown as a major culinary and medicinal herb. All parts edible. Intermediate in flavour between celery and parsley. May need staking in exposed position. Few pests or diseases. Propagate by fresh seed; division in spring or autumn.


How to cook: Leaves and young shoots – raw in salads or cooked in soups and stews. Leafy seedlings – use as a substitute for parsley. Stems – raw or cooked, tastes like strong celery. Flower buds – raw in salads, celery-like flavour. Seeds – use as a pepper substitute. Roots – cooked in soups and stews for a flavour similar to celery.


Posted on January 29, 2013