Celery - Apium graveolens

Celery - Apium graveolens

The celery

It is a biennial cycle plant of marshy origin, therefore it needs constant humidity; it does not require particular treatments, but it is a good idea to never expose it to freezing or very cold temperatures. High temperatures (greater than 30 ° C) hinder its vegetative growth; it is a species suitable for temperate climates. It is grown in vegetable gardens and open land. In Italy, production is mainly concentrated in Puglia, Piedmont, Lazio, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna. The "stalks" of celery reach 30 to 75 cm in length and are eaten raw or cooked. Flowering takes place in the months of June and July, the flowers are yellowish-white in the shape of "umbels". It has a rigid, cylindrical and deeply grooved stem. The leaves, in the center, form a dense structure, this is the finest and most tender part also known as the "heart".


Celery is divided into three groups: Dulce, Rapaceum, Silvestre. The Dulce variety, cultivated in particular for the stem (coast) is the best known and most consumed (with green, golden, white ribs). Of the other variety, Rapaceum, better known as celeriac or celery of Verona, the white and firm root is used. Finally, the Silvestre variety, with a strong and intense taste, only the leaves of it are used. There is also the black one but it has a very limited production. Wild celery differs from the previous ones in that it is lower and with smaller leaves, this plant should never be eaten fresh.


The main properties of celery are diuretic and digestive, purifying and expectorant. Thanks to the presence of nitrates (sodium, potassium, calcium) it is useful for blood purification. Fresh juice is an antiastenic and antirheumatic drink. It is very rich in water (90-95%), has a low energy value (15-25 cal. / 100 gr.), Contains many mineral salts (especially potassium) and vitamins.

Soil and fertilization

To grow celery you need to choose a deep soil, rich in organic substance and very well drained, avoiding too clayey, sandy, with water and nutritional deficiencies. The most frequent type of cultivation is that of pits: towards the end of the winter season, prepare a pit 35-40 cm deep and 30 cm deep, put manure on the bottom (8 Kg./sqm) and cover with earth up to 7-8 cm above the ground level, leave it like this until there is the plant.

Cultivation techniques

To grow celery you need to choose a deep soil, rich in organic substance and very well drained, avoiding too clayey, sandy, with water and nutritional deficiencies. The most frequent type of cultivation is that of pits: towards the end of the winter season, prepare a pit 35-40 cm deep and 30 cm deep, put manure on the bottom (8 Kg./sqm) and cover with earth up to 7-8 cm above the ground level, leave it like this until there is the plant.

It is preferable to start from sowing in a seedbed where the seeds will develop (at this stage it will be watered gently and gently to ensure that the seeds do not come out) and, as soon as the seedlings have grown enough (about 15 cm), we will proceed with the transplant in rows in open ground; the distance between the plants should be 20-25 cm and that between the rows of about 60-70 cm, after this operation proceed with abundant irrigation. If the climate is particularly dry and in any case about 15 days prior to tamping (to always be carried out in moist soil), irrigate in quantities of 18 liters / m2. The tamping is a technique that consists in covering the shoots with earth, thus protecting them from atmospheric agents and herbs that could infest them, thus obtaining a whiter celery. Instead we proceed with weeding to clean the soil by eliminating the herbs that could cause damage. As for the cultivation in pot, it follows a little the procedure of that in the open field, even here we proceed by making the seeds develop in the seedbeds and when the seedlings reach a sufficient height, they are gently transplanted into pots, the earth must drained. In addition to tamping, mulching can be used, a technique suitable for maintaining the right humidity in the soil and ensuring that noxious weeds are formed.


The harvesting period depends on the variety and the planting period: the plant is extracted manually in a delicate way, being careful because, at times, the roots can be very deep, in this case it would be advisable to use a fork for uprooting . Harvesting should be fast enough because if the plants that have already reached the greatest development remain in the field for too long, some diseases could be encountered (such as that of the spongy and hollow petiole). Harvesting is possible with machinery, but their use is reserved almost exclusively for industrial use.

Weeds and Diseases

The celery fly and the carrot fly, with their larvae, are two of the greatest dangers for this plant, they attack its leaves and roots respectively: the leaves turn yellow and dry up. The drying of the leaves (or steptoriosis) ruins the entire crop with red-brown spots. Other enemies can be the snails and the grillotalpa. A treatment with copper-based products can be useful to defeat the problem of drying of the leaves, while for the fly it is advisable to use products based on Dimethoate (insecticide that quickly penetrates into the tissues of plants).


The celeriac (Apium graveolens, variety Rapaceum) is a species of biennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family. Originally from the Mediterranean area, it is a plant whose root is consumed mainly, which appears white in color and is globe-shaped. Celeriac is a very particular vegetable that is known and grown only in some areas of northern Italy: it contains very few calories and has a slightly less strong taste than celery and this also makes it suitable to be consumed as a main ingredient. of different recipes. In the kitchen it is mainly used as a staple food for sautéing, but it can also be served raw in pinzimonio, in salads or to flavor soups. It is particularly popular in the cuisine of northern European countries.

The plants are raised from seed, sown either in a hot bed or in the open garden according to the season of the year, and, after one or two thinnings and transplantings, they are, on attaining a height of 15–20 cm (6 –8 in), planted out in deep trenches for convenience of blanching, which is effected by earthing up to exclude light from the stems. [ citation needed ]

Celery was first grown as a winter and early spring vegetable. [12] It was considered a cleansing tonic to counter the deficiencies of a winter diet based on salted meats without fresh vegetables. [12] By the 19th century, the season for celery in England had been extended, to last from the beginning of September to late in April. [13]

North America [edit]

In North America, commercial production of celery is dominated by the cultivar called 'Pascal' celery. [3] Gardeners can grow a range of cultivars, many of which differ from the wild species, mainly in having stouter leaf stems. They are ranged under two classes, white and red. The stalks grow in tight, straight, parallel bunches, and are typically marketed fresh that way. They are sold without roots and only a small amount of green leaf remaining. [ citation needed ]

The stalks can be eaten raw, or as an ingredient in salads, or as a flavoring in soups, stews, and pot roasts. [ citation needed ]

Europe [edit]

In Europe, another popular variety is celeriac (also known as celery root), Apium graveolens var. rapaceum, grown because its hypocotyl forms a large bulb, white on the inside. The bulb can be kept for months in winter and mostly serves as a main ingredient in soup. It can also be shredded and used in salads. The leaves are used as seasoning the small, fibrous stalks find only marginal use. [14] [15] [16]

Asia [edit]

Leaf celery (Chinese celery, Apium graveolens var. secalinum) is a cultivar from East Asia that grows in marshlands. Leaf celery has characteristically thin skin stalks and a stronger taste and smell compared to other cultivars. It is used as a flavoring in soups and sometimes pickled as a side dish. [17]

Wild [edit]

The wild form of celery is known as "smallage". It has a furrowed stalk with wedge-shaped leaves, the whole plant having a coarse, earthy taste, and a distinctive smell. The stalks are not usually eaten (except in soups or stews in French cuisine), but the leaves may be used in salads, and its seeds are those sold as a spice. [18] With cultivation and blanching, the stalks lose their acidic qualities and assume the mild, sweetish, aromatic taste particular to celery as a salad plant. [ citation needed ]

Because wild celery is rarely eaten, yet susceptible to the same diseases as more well-used cultivars, it is often removed from fields to help prevent transmission of viruses like celery mosaic virus. [19]


Celeriac is a vegetable rich in vitamins, in particular A, C and E (which then represent the three antioxidant vitamins par excellence) and di mineral salts, especially iron, manganese and potassium, which is why it is considered an excellent remineralizer. Celeriac also contains very few calories, about 20 kcal per 100 grams: it is also suitable for those who follow low-calorie diets, it is low in fat, particularly rich in fibers, has diuretic and drained properties, excellent for the liver and respiratory tract, useful in case of kidney stones. The juice of celeriac stalks is excellent for the treatment against rheumatism and is indicated against lung diseases. The massive presence of some allergenic proteins (such as Api g 1, Api g 4, and Api g%), can be the cause of a series of food allergies.


  • 1 Description
  • 2 Natural spread
  • 3 Varieties
    • 3.1 Celeriac
      • 3.1.1 Cultivation
      • 3.1.2 Nutritional qualities
      • 3.1.3 History
  • 4 Medical aspects
    • 4.1 Uses in herbal medicine
    • 4.2 Possible Adverse Effects
    • 4.3 Other aspects
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 Other projects
  • 7 External links

Apium graveolens in its spontaneous state ("wild celery") it is part of the indigenous Italian flora, up to about 1500m of altitude. Today, however, it is more often encountered in the cultivated state, or spontaneously starting from crops. Wild celery seems to be completely absent from Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta. [1]

In addition to Italy, wild celery is indigenous to the countries of the Mediterranean basin and to almost all of central and southern Europe, as well as to Asia in a wide range from the Middle East to China. [2]

The most used varieties in cooking are "celery from the coast" (Apium graveolens var. sweet) of which the long and fleshy leaf petioles are used, and the "celeriac" (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) of which the root is consumed.

Celeriac Edit

Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) is a particular vegetable.
The root of celeriac is consumed (in fact it is a so-called "root vegetable"), white in color and globe-shaped, the leaves are dark green, the stems are hollow inside and the root system has a remarkable development.

Cultivation Edit

Celeriac ripens over a rather long period, from 110 to 150 days from transplanting. The harvests begin from mid-August and last until the first frosts. The conservation takes place in cold rooms, without undergoing any treatment, and lasts for a period of 4-5 months. The marketing of celeriac begins in the middle of August and continues until March.

Nutritional Qualities Edit

Celeriac, like celery from the coast, contains very few calories. Its slightly less intense taste than that of celery makes it suitable for recipes where it appears not only as a seasoning, but as a main ingredient. The belief that celery is so low in calories that it takes more to eat than it is for the body to digest is false. [3]

History Edit

Celeriac is a very common vegetable in Italy and inexpensive in the twentieth century, during the period of the World Wars, in the colleges of friars and nuns it was customary to serve it to guests, mostly children, raw and grated.

Uses in herbal medicine Edit

Celery has been counted among medicinal plants since the time of the ancient Egyptians.

The fruits contain essential oils, in particular limonene, which are attributed digestive (eg in the form of an infusion) and diuretic properties, as well as emmenagogues, that is, capable of bringing blood to the pelvic area.

Possible Adverse Effects Edit

Due to the presence of some allergenic proteins (Api g 1, Api g 4, Api g 5), it can cause even severe food allergy. [4]

Other aspects Edit

Celery is the main dietary source of androsterone, a precursor of testosterone. [without source] Contains apigenin.

The first information on the use of this vegetable in cooking dates back to 1623. The core of the stem can be eaten fresh in salads or in pinzimonio, while the external ribs can be used in the preparation of soups and broths. This vegetable is a key ingredient in vegetable broth.

It keeps very long in the refrigerator, but remains crunchy only for four or five days, so it is worth consuming within this time frame.

Celery can be used to flavor sauces, as in this tasty tuna fusilli recipe.

Celery can be eaten on the ribs or the leaves


Celery is distinguished from rib celery (Apium graveolens var.dulce) and celeriac (Apium graveolens var.raaceum) it belongs to the Umbrelliferae and has been known since the time of the Greeks. These are herbaceous plants that are grown as annuals. The external ribs can be removed at any time the tufts are cut at the base with the knife the root is extracted with the whole plant when, removing the collar, it appears to be at least 10 cm in diameter. Celery has aperitif (stimulates appetite) and digestive functions (promotes salivary, gastric and biliary secretion): it fights stomach pain, acidity and gastritis, all thanks to the essential oil content. It is low-calorie, diuretic, purifying and laxative.
Coastal celery can be grown throughout Italy, from the coasts to the mountains, while root celery prefers cool climates and gives the best yield from the Po Valley upwards (including the Alps). The former can also be grown in pots, the latter needs deep soil and does not perform well in pots. The position must be sunny for both.
In general, celery wants fertile, well-drained soils. Celeriac wants softer, sandier soil so that the root can grow easily. In pot, at least 30 cm in diameter for a plant, you need a good garden soil and an excellent drainage on the bottom (gravel or clay marbles).
Sowing / transplanting
Celery is sown in seedbeds in January-February and the seedlings are transplanted into the ground when they have reached 10-15 cm in height, in April-May, keeping a distance of 25-35 cm on the row and? 60- 80 cm between the rows. Or they are sown in the home in May-June for the autumn harvest. Caution when sowing: 1 g of seed contains up to 2,000 seeds! The stalks must be raised by 10-15 cm. Alternatively, you can buy the seedlings ready in spring or from late summer onwards.
Irrigation must be moderate but regular and close, without ever wetting the foliage as drought makes the coasts hard and fibrous.
After transplanting and during cultivation, mineral fertilizers are given (especially in the case of celeriac).
Celery can be bleached to obtain a more tender vegetable. About a month before harvesting, the dry plant is tied with raffia and gradually covered with earth (or wrapped with cardboard) almost the entire stem, which will become white and crunchy.
This Umbrellifera should never be placed next to other representatives of the same family, it goes well with Liliaceae such as garlic, onion, leek and chives.
Other uses
A pack of chopped celery relieves the pain of chilblains and cracking on the skin of the hands.
There are not many varieties of celery available. Among the best are mentioned, among the white ones, Golden Self Blanching, erect, golden in color, with a wide and tight rib, suitable for spring sowing and summer-autumn harvest Golden Giant, erect, vigorous, with full ribs, tender, wide and of natural bleaching D'Elne, erect, with fleshy ribs forming a heart full of easy bleaching.
Among the green ones, we remember the classic Verde da Taglio (of which we use the short, green leaves and canes, with a very pleasant flavor), rustic, resistant to frost, revived after the cuts and the dual-purpose cultivar Plein Blanc Pascal, vigorous, rustic, with long, full, erect ribs, which whitens after a few days of landfill. For celeriac, there is the Di Verona cultivar, with a relatively smooth and very voluminous root, firm, crunchy and fragrant pulp.

Video: Asian Chinese Celery Apium graveolens Heirloom Organic Open Pollinated Vegetable Seed USA Shipping