Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable.
Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves Template:Convert long with numerous Template:Convert leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter.
Parsley is widely used in European, Middle Eastern, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. In central Europe, eastern Europe, and southern Europe, as well as in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Root parsley is very common in central, eastern, and southern European cuisines, where it is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles.
The word "parsley" is a merger of the Old English petersilie (which is identical to the contemporary German word for parsley: Petersilie) and the Old French peresil, both derived from Medieval Latin petrosilium, from Latin petroselinum,<ref>petroselinon, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus Digital Library</ref> which is the latinization of the Greek πετροσέλινον (petroselinon), "rock-celery",<ref>πετροσέλινον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library</ref> from πέτρα (petra), "rock, stone",<ref>πέτρα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library</ref> + σέλινον (selinon), "celery".<ref>σέλινον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexi</ref><ref name="Med">The Euro+Med Plantbase Project: Petroselinum crispum Template:Webarchive</ref><ref name="Flora">Interactive Flora of NW Europe: Petroselinum crispumTemplate:Dead link</ref> Mycenaean Greek se-ri-no, in Linear B, is the earliest attested form of the word selinon.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to Template:Convert tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seeds are ovoid, 2–3 mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.<ref name="Flora"/><ref name="Blamey">Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Template:ISBN</ref><ref name="Huxley">Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening 3: 532. Macmillan Template:ISBN.</ref>
Template:Nutritionalvalue Parsley is a source of flavonoids and antioxidants, especially luteolin, apigenin,<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Half a tablespoon (a gram) of dried parsley contains about 6.0 µg of lycopene and 10.7 µg of alpha carotene as well as 82.9 µg of lutein+zeaxanthin and 80.7 µg of beta carotene.<ref>Nutritional Data, Parsley, accessed 2013.08.05</ref>
Excessive consumption of parsley should be avoided by pregnant women. Normal food quantities are safe for pregnant women, but consuming excessively large amounts may have uterotonic effects.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
Parsley grows best in moist, well-drained soil, with full sun. It grows best between Template:Convert, and usually is grown from seed.<ref name="Huxley"/> Germination is slow, taking four to six weeks,<ref name="Huxley"/> and it often is difficult because of furanocoumarins in its seed coat.<ref name="Jett">Jett, J. W. That Devilish Parsley Template:Webarchive West Virginia University Extension Service. Last retrieved April 26, 2007.</ref> Typically, plants grown for the leaf crop are spaced 10 cm apart, while those grown as a root crop are spaced 20 cm apart to allow for the root development.<ref name="Huxley"/>
Parsley attracts several species of wildlife. Some swallowtail butterflies use parsley as a host plant for their larvae; their caterpillars are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feed on parsley for two weeks before turning into butterflies. Bees and other nectar-feeding insects also visit the flowers. Birds such as the goldfinch feed on the seeds.
In cultivation, parsley is subdivided into several cultivar groups,<ref>Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database: Sorting Petroselinum names</ref> depending on the form of the plant, which is related to its end use. Often these are treated as botanical varieties,<ref name="Petroselinum crispum">Template:GRIN</ref> but they are cultivated selections, not of natural botanical origin.<ref name="Blamey"/>
The two main groups of parsley used as herbs are French, or curly leaf (P. crispum crispum group; syn. P. crispum var. crispum); and, Italian, or flat leaf (P. crispum neapolitanum group; syn. P. crispum var. neapolitanum). Of these, the neapolitanum group more closely resembles the natural wild species.Template:Fact Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some gardeners as it is easier to cultivate, being more tolerant of both rain and sunshine,<ref name="Stobart">Stobart, T. (1980). The Cook's Encyclopaedia. Macmillan Template:ISBN.</ref> and is said to have a stronger flavor<ref name="Huxley"/> — although this is disputed<ref name="Stobart"/> — while curly leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing.<ref name="Stobart"/><ref>Growing Herbs: How to Grow Parsley</ref> A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick leaf stems resembling celery.<ref name="Stobart"/>
Another type of parsley is grown as a root vegetable, the Hamburg root parsley (P. crispum radicosum group, syn. P. crispum var. tuberosum). This type of parsley produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. Although seldom used in Britain and the United States, root parsley is common in central and eastern European cuisine, where it is used in soups and stews, or simply eaten raw, as a snack (similar to carrots).<ref name="Stobart"/>
Although root parsley looks similar to the parsnip, which is among its closest relatives in the family Apiaceae, its taste is quite different.
Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, Brazilian, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is used often as a garnish. Green parsley is used frequently as a garnish on potato dishes (boiled or mashed potatoes), on rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), on fish, fried chicken, lamb, goose, and steaks, as well in meat or vegetable stews (including shrimp creole, beef bourguignon, goulash, or chicken paprikash).<ref>Meyer, J. (1998). Authentic Hungarian Heirloon Recipes Cookbook, ed. 2. Meyer & Assoc. Template:ISBN.</ref>
In central Europe, eastern Europe, and southern Europe, as well as in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green, chopped parsley sprinkled on top. In southern and central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used as an ingredient in stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups such as chicken soup, green salads, or salads such as salade Olivier, and on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés.
Parsley is the main ingredient in Italian salsa verde, which is a mixed condiment of parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, and sometimes bread, soaked in vinegar. It is an Italian custom to serve it with bollito misto or fish. Gremolata, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew, ossobuco alla milanese.
In Brazil, freshly chopped parsley (Template:Lang) and freshly chopped scallion (Template:Lang) are the main ingredients in the herb seasoning called Template:Lang (literally "green aroma"), which is used as key seasoning for major Brazilian dishes, including meat, chicken, fish, rice, beans, stews, soups, vegetables, salads, condiments, sauces, and stocks. Template:Lang is sold in food markets as a bundle of both types of fresh herbs. In some Brazilian regions, chopped parsley may be replaced by chopped coriander (also called cilantro, Template:Lang in Portuguese) in the mixture.
Parsley is a key ingredient in several Middle Eastern salads such as Lebanese tabbouleh; it is also often mixed in with the chickpeas and/or fava beans while making falafel (that gives the inside of the falafel its green color).
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