Real celery

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Real celery
Real celery (Apium graveolens)

Real celery ( Apium graveolens )

Order : Umbelliferae (Apiales)
Family : Umbelliferae (Apiaceae)
Subfamily : Apioideae
Tribe : Apieae
Genre : Celery ( Apium )
Type : Real celery
Scientific name
Apium graveolens

The real celery ( Apium graveolens ), mostly just called celery , or Eppich , in Austria also the celery (with an emphasis on the last syllable) or the Zeller, is a plant species from the genus Celery ( Apium ) within the umbelliferae family (Apiaceae ). Its varieties of celeriac, celery root and celery are used as vegetables in the kitchen.


Illustration of real celery

The characteristics of the cultivated forms differ greatly from those of the wild forms described here. The main differences in the cultivation forms are discussed below.

Vegetative characteristics

Real celery is an annual to perennial herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 30 to 100 centimeters. The root is spindle-shaped and branched. In the second year it lignifies.

The stems are upright, heavily branched and have angular furrows. The leaves are dark green, glossy and simply pinnate. In the cultivated forms they can also be double-pinnate. The leaflets are 0.5 to 5 centimeters long, their shape is wide diamond-shaped to wedge-shaped. The basal leaves are long-stalked. The stem leaves are almost sessile on short sheaths with white skin margins.

Generative characteristics

Real celery forms numerous double-gold inflorescences that are short-stalked or sessile and have up to twelve rays. Umbel envelope or envelope is missing. The flowers are hermaphroditic. The petals are 0.5 millimeters long and almost pure white, can also be a little yellowish or greenish. You have a broken rag at the top.

The fruit is egg-shaped with a width of 1.5 to 2 millimeters and has little protruding, triangular, sharp, yellow ribs. It is dark brown between the ribs. There are one to three oil streaks under the valleys and two on the joint surface. The fruit holder is bristly and weakly notched at the tip.

The number of chromosomes is x = 11; there is diploidy with a chromosome number of 2n = 22.


The flowers are proterandric . The pollination is effected by insects ( Diptera ) or by self-pollination .


The wild form Apium graveolens var. Graveolens has a wide distribution. It is native to Europe, North Africa, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Yemen, West Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The inculture probably took place in the Mediterranean area . Salty, moist to swampy soils in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean countries are assumed to be the natural habitats of the wild form. It occurs there in companies of the Agropyro-Rumicion association.

In Central Europe, the wild form occurs exclusively at inland salt stations . It colonizes moist to wet, nutrient-rich, salty mud soils only in the colline altitude range . Their status in the German federal states lies between “critically endangered” and “extinct”. In Austria, the wild form, if it ever existed, is extinct.

Systematics, names and use

Wild shape of the sump celery ( Apium graveolens var. Graveolens )

Several varieties are distinguished within the species Apium graveolens :

  • Apium graveolens var. Graveolens
  • Celeriac ( Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum (Mill.) DC. )
  • Celery ( Apium graveolens var. Dulce (Mill.) DC. )
  • Cut celery ( Apium graveolens var. Secalinum Alef. )

The wild form of the sump celery ( Apium graveolens var. Graveolens ). The forms of culture emerged from it.

The German common name celery goes back to the ancient Greek name selinon , σέλινον for this type of plant. The name is synonymous with the Sicilian city of Selinunt on the Selinus River , in whose swampy lowlands large stocks of celery grew. The tip of a celery leaf served as the city's coat of arms. The Greek selinon became German celery via the French celeri . Other (dialect) names such as Zellerich, Zelderie or Zeller go back to the same origin.

The generic name Apium , from which the German names Eppich (formerly Epffig , via Old High German epfe ) arose , goes back to the Latin name for a plant with golden inflorescences with bitter substances, which bees like to visit . The Latin name cannot be assigned to any species and was only assigned to the genus celery by Carl von Linné . The specific epithet graveolens means strongly fragrant, smelling .

celery root

Celeriac of the 'Dolvi' variety

Celeriac ( Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum ), also known as celeriac or cellar, develops a storage organ that grows semi-underground. The main root, hypocotyl and upset stem axis each make up one third of the storage body . So it is a turnip . The shoot section can be recognized by the rhombic-transverse leaf scars, the hypocotyl is free of scars and the root zone is recognizable by the strong lateral roots. Since the largest part of the round storage body falls on the shoot section, the term tuber does not seem entirely unjustified in botanical terms . The lateral roots shorten as they grow and pull the storage body into the soil ( traction roots ). All organs are criss-crossed by oil ducts. The phthalides responsible for the typical celery aroma are found in the essential oil . The cultivated form is not frost hardy and must therefore be pounded into sand in winter to obtain seeds. In the second year, the beet sprouts into a white blooming, branched inflorescence sprout up to two meters high, consuming the storage materials.

The cultivation of celery in vegetable gardening takes place for early harvests in the second half of May in the greenhouse with sowing in January. For harvests during the summer or autumn, plants that have been grown early are planted outdoors between the ice saints and the end of June. The size of the celery bulbs can be significantly regulated by the growers via the planting width. The yield per hectare of celery bulbs can reach 30 to 35 tons.

Celeriac can be used as soup greens or as roasted or root vegetables for stews, as an accompaniment to puree , as a salad (e.g. Waldorf salad ), as a main course fried in slices to make celery schnitzel or to make soups.



Celery ( Apium graveolens var. Dulce ), also known as stem, stick or pale celery, has long, fleshy leaf stalks and a small tuber. The leaf stalks, which can weigh up to one kilogram per plant, go on sale. They are used in salads or as vegetables. The pale color is caused by piling up earth and putting sheet metal pipes over it, which impairs the formation of chlorophyll due to a lack of light ( yellowing ). The leaf stalks contain comparatively high amounts of β-carotene and are characterized by a fine celery aroma.


Cut, leaf or spiced celery ( Apium graveolens var. Secalinum ), which is closest to the wild form with a little or no tuber and leaves reminiscent of parsley, are used as herbs. Only the leaves are used, which contain 0.1% essential oils with approx. 60% limonene and 10% selinene and do not lose their aromatic substances during drying. A mixture of dried leaves with table salt is offered as celery salt .

Use in medicine

Celery has been used in the treatment of rheumatism , arthritis, and gout . It is said to be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis that is accompanied by " depression ". The benefit in rheumatism is said to be related to the diuretic effect, the essential oil - Apiol - is said to "detoxify" urine. The dried ripe seeds are used.


As an umbelliferous plant, the celery plant contains essential oils in all of its organs. The oils contain phthalides , which are responsible for the typical celery aroma.

Pharmacology and toxicology


Celery contains a large number of pharmacologically active substances. The main active ingredients are: psoralen , bergapten , xanthotoxin , apiin and essential oils such as apiol .


Celery can trigger allergic reactions up to anaphylactic shock (celery-carrot-mugwort syndrome).

When celery bulbs are infected by the fungus Sclerotina sclerotiorum , sufficient amounts of furocoumarins can be formed to cause phototoxic reactions. Play psoralen , Bergapten and Xanthotoxin the most important role. In England, America and Italy, the infected celery, known as “pink red”, repeatedly led to illness-related absences among harvest workers, as up to 26% of harvest workers suffered from severe contact dermatitis . In contrast, uninfected celery is not phototoxic.

Cultural history

According to written records from the time between 1200 and 600 BC, wild celery was used in ancient Egypt . As a medicinal plant. The use has been passed down many times from ancient Greece . The winner of the Nemean Games received a wreath woven from celery leaves. The Romans took over the use from the Greeks. After the Great Migration, the use is documented again from the beginning of the 9th century. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, celery was mainly used as a medicinal plant. Today's varieties of celeriac, bleached celery and stick celery emerged from the 17th century. Celeriac and white celery originated in Italy.

Dioscurides praised the celery as diuretic, with a heated stomach, hardening in the breasts, against poisons and animal bites. It was said that he was driving melancholy away . With Hippocrates it has a diuretic effect, with Hildegard it cleanses the stomach, with Paracelsus it acts against flatulence, urine semolina and stinking sweat. According to Veleslavin (1596), it restricts milk secretion . From folk medicine uses for digestive disorders, kidney stones and as an aphrodisiac are known. Madaus names the fresh seeds collected in autumn or the raw "root juice" particularly effective.


  • Gerd and Marlene Haerkötter: All about parsley & celery. Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-8218-1308-3 .
  • Ewald Ernst: Cabbage vegetables and celery in the garden. German agricultural publisher VEB, Berlin 1967.
  • Lutz Roth, Max Daunderer, Kurt Kormann: Poison Plants - Plant Poisons. Occurrence, effect, therapy, allergic and phototoxic reactions. With a special section about poisonous animals. 6th, revised edition, special edition. Nikol, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-86820-009-6 .
  • Georg Vogel: Handbook of special vegetable cultivation. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1996. ISBN 3-8001-5285-1 , pp. 975-990. Cultural history.
  • Siegmund Seybold (Ed.): Schmeil-Fitschen interactive . CD-ROM, version 1.1. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2002, ISBN 3-494-01327-6 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Celery  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Real Celery ( Apium graveolens )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Austrian dictionary. 40th edition, öbvhpt, Vienna 2006, ISBN 978-3-209-05511-8 , p. 593.
  2. Apium graveolens L., Celery. In:
  3. ^ Apium in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  4. ^ Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp. 708 .
  5. ^ Manfred A. Fischer, Karl Oswald, Wolfgang Adler: Excursion flora for Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol . 3rd, improved edition. Province of Upper Austria, Biology Center of the Upper Austrian State Museums, Linz 2008, ISBN 978-3-85474-187-9 , p. 849 .
  6. ^ Friedrich Kluge: Etymological dictionary of the German language . 24th edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2002, ISBN 978-3-11-017473-1 , p. 841 .
  7. Georg Vogel: Handbook of special vegetable cultivation. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1996. ISBN 3-8001-5285-1 , p. 975.
  8. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th ed., Ed. by Walther Mitzka , De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 169.
  9. ^ Siegmund Seybold (Ed.): Schmeil-Fitschen interactive . CD-ROM, version 1.1. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2002, ISBN 3-494-01327-6 .
  10. a b c d R. Lieberei, Ch. Reisdorff: Nutzpflanzenkunde. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-13-530407-6 .
  11. Ulrich Sachweh (editor): The gardener, volume 3. Tree nursery, fruit growing, seed growing, vegetable growing. 2nd edition, Ulmer, Stuttgart 1986/1989, ISBN 3-8001-1148-9 , p. 222 f.
  12. David Hoffmann : Naturally healthy - herbal medicine . Over 200 herbs and medicinal plants and their effects on health. Ed .: Element Books . 1st edition. Element Books, Shaftesbury , England , UK 1996, Part Three: The Plant Directory, pp.  61 (256 pp., English: The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal . Shaftesbury, England 1996. Translated by Mosaik Verlag).
  13. P. 1687 Apiin ( Memento from February 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Apiol
  15. Celery-carrot-mugwort syndrome ( Memento from March 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  16. ^ Gerhard Madaus: Textbook of biological remedies. Volume I. Olms, Hildesheim / New York 1979, ISBN 3-487-05891-X , pp. 551-556 (reprint of the Leipzig 1938 edition).