Apium graveolens L.

First published in Sp. Pl.: 264 (1753)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Macaronesia to N. Africa, Europe to W. Himalaya. It is a biennial and grows primarily in the temperate biome. It is used as animal food, a poison and a medicine and for food.


Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 1700 - 2700 m.; Andes.
Morphology General Habit

Umbelliferae, J. F. M. Cannon. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Morphology General Habit
An erect biennial or perennial herb, with the characteristic smell of celery, up to 1 m. or sometimes a little more.
Morphology Stem
Stem with prominent rather coarse grooves, rising from a large fleshy taproot.
Morphology Leaves
Lower leaves simply pinnate, 10–14 cm. long, with deltate-rhomboid segments up to 4·5 cm. long, often deeply 3-lobed; bases distinctly sheathing; the lower ones obviously petiolate, the uppermost more or less sessile. Stem leaves ternate with rhomboid segments to narrowly lanceolate-elliptic and subentire above.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Umbels terminal and lateral, shortly pedunculate or ± sessile in leaf axils.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts 0, rays 7–15, up to 2·5 cm. long, rather unequal; bracteoles 0, with flowers on pedicels of 1–5 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Calyx teeth obsolete; petals greenish-white.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit c. 1·5 mm. long, very broadly ovoid; stylopodium depressed; styles c. 0·5 mm. long; carpophore shortly 2-cleft.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits Vittae
Vittae solitary in the intervals and 2 on the commissural face.

Biogeografic region: Andean. Elevation range: 1700–2700 m a.s.l. Cultivated in Colombia. Colombian departments: Antioquia, Bogotá DC, Cundinamarca, Huila, Valle del Cauca.
IUCN Red List Assessment (2021): LC.
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, savanna, shrubland, native grassland, artificial - terrestrial.

Ghazanfar, S. A. & Edmondson, J. R (Eds). (2014) Flora of Iraq, Volume 5 Part 2: Lythraceae to Campanulaceae.

Morphology General Habit
Erect, yellowish-green, glabrous biennial herb, 30–60 cm, with a strong and characteristic smell
Morphology Stem
Stem rather weak, strongly sulcate, much-branched above
Morphology Leaves
Radical leaves simply pinnate with (3–)5(–7) cuneate-ovate, 5–30 × 4–35 mm incised leaflets, long-petiolate; stem leaves becoming pinnate with trisect segments which are obtusely or subacutely dentate, the teeth shortly mucronate with a percurrent vein; uppermost leaves sessile on the sheaths, small, simply trisect, the segments lanceolate and entire
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Partial umbels with 10–20 small (± 1 mm diameter) greenish-white flowers; pedicels 1–3 mm, involucel absent Main umbel with 5–12 unequal rays 0.5–2.5 cm, involucre absent Umbels axillary and pseudo-terminal, shortly pedunculate or sessile in the axils of a small ternate leaf or at the junction of two or more main branches
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit broadly ovoid, ± 1.5 mm long, blackish when ripe, the ribs prominent, pale, narrow; stylopodia shortly conical, subequalled by the deflexed styles.
Damp places, along streams, ditches in irrigated gardens; often cultivated or subspontaneous as a garden escape; alt. up to ± 500 m
Flowering and fruiting: Apr.–May/Jun.
Quite common on the alluvial plain in the desert region of Iraq, occasional in the steppe and in other parts of the desert region. Most of Europe, especially in coastal regions (from Britain & Scandinavia to W Russia, Greece & Crimea), Crete, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, NW India to China & Korea, C Asia (Turkmenistan, Tajikistan), N Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Libya), Macaronesia (Canary Is.).
Wild Celery, formerly also known as Smallage; KARAFS (Arabic, a name mentioned by Ibn al-Baitar (c. 1240) who quotes the opinions of Galen, Dioscorides and others on its properties), often colloquially called KRAFAS in Iraq.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/164203/13575099

LC - least concern

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/

apio, apio criollo, apio de páramo, apio grande, apio pequeño


Use Animal Food
Used as animal food.
Use Gene Sources
Used as gene sources.
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Materials
Used as material.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.
Use Poisons

Medicinally, its properties are listed by Wren (1956) and Rawi & Chakravarty (1964) and may briefly be summed up as carminative, diuretic, tonic and aphrodisiac. According to Watt (1809), it has also been used by local doctors in India as an emmenagogue for the expulsion of stone. Burkill (1935) points out that celery has certainly been in cultivation since fairly remote times, its oldest use probably being for flavouring. It has been found in Egypt in a tomb of the 20th Pharaonic dynasty woven into a garland; the Romans also used it for garlands and the ancient Greeks as a potherb, while the Chinese had it some 19 centuries ago. Wild forms of the plant contain a glucoside, apiumoside, also found in the leaves of parsley and allied herbs, which may, he suggests, be the cause of a certain measure of indigestibility, and a volatile oil is also present, most abundantly in the seeds. The modern cultivated forms of the plant are innocuous, the edible blanched leaf-stalks being used as a vegetable in salads, for flavouring soups and so on.

Common Names



  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

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  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

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  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
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  • Flora of Iraq

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  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

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  • IUCN Categories

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  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Living Collection Database

    • Common Names from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Living Collection https://www.kew.org/
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Science Photographs

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  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    • ColPlantA database
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  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

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