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Alexanders is a stout BIENNIAL flowering plant growing to 1.2m tall. It has a strong solid stem that becomes hollow and grooved with age. The bright green leaves are bluntly toothed, and ternately divided. Umbels of yellow-green flowers are followed by black seeds. It prefers moist soil in a full sun or semi-shade position. Attractive to bees and butterflies.

The taste has been described as somewhat intermediate between parsley and celery. All plant parts are edible, and it has been used historically as a medicine.

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All plant parts are edible. The root is often boiled in soups, and the stem blanched before serving. The leaves and young shoots, which have a strong celery-like flavour can be eaten either raw in salads, or cooked in stews and soups. The flower buds can be eaten raw, and the seeds are a spicy substitute for pepper.

As a bitter and digestive herb, it has been used in the past as a medicinal plant.

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Other Names

Latin Name

(Smyrnium olusatrum)