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Overview

Brief Summary

Alexanders is also known as horse parsley. And indeed, horses eat it and it tastes a lot like parsley. Actually, its flavor is somewhere between parsley and celery. Alexanders is a tall plant with dark green leaves, light green flowers and black seeds. It originated in the Mediterranean Sea region and can only grow in our region where there is a mild sea climate. For centuries, this plant was grown as a vegetable along the coasts of Western Europe. The leaves turn black when cooked. Despite the fact that the entire plant has a lovely celery-flavor, Alexanders is rarely eaten anymore. Some Texelaars still use it to make a tasty mashed potato dish.
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Ecology

Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
Diplodia coelomycetous anamorph of Diplodia henriquesii feeds on Smyrnium olusatrum

Foodplant / parasite
cleistothecium of Erysiphe heraclei parasitises live Smyrnium olusatrum

Foodplant / miner
larva of Euleia heraclei mines live leaf of Smyrnium olusatrum

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Liophloeus tessulatus feeds on root of Smyrnium olusatrum

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Phaedon tumidulus grazes on live leaf of Smyrnium olusatrum
Remarks: season: -late 8
Other: uncertain

Foodplant / parasite
hypophyllous colony of sporangium of Plasmopara crustosa parasitises live leaf of Smyrnium olusatrum

Foodplant / gall
aecioid aecium of Puccinia smyrnii causes gall of live, distorted stem of Smyrnium olusatrum
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Stachybotrys dematiaceous anamorph of Stachybotrys dichroa is saprobic on dead stem of Smyrnium olusatrum
Remarks: season: 4-9

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Urceolella crispula is saprobic on dead stem of Smyrnium olusatrum
Remarks: season: 5-11

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Smyrnium olusatrum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Smyrnium olusatrum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Wikipedia

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]

Description[edit]

The plants are stout to 150 cms high, with a solid stem which becomes hollow with age. The leaves are bluntly toothed, the segments ternately divided the segments flat, not fleshy.[2]

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. 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 food source, 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 feed source much appreciated by horses.[citation needed]

Distribution[edit]

Ireland: Counties Down, Antrim and Londonderry,[5] and throughout most of Ireland.[6]

References[edit]

  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 Ltd.Daldalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  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) 1992. Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Third Edition. Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0853894469(HB)
  6. ^ Scannell, M.P. and Synnott, D.M. 1972. Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland. Dublin Stationery Office


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