Parsley is thought to have originated in Sardinia, but the plant has been altered significantly by cultivation. In mythology, parsley was believed to have sprung from a Greek hero, Archemorous, the forerunner of death. Greeks crowned winners at the Isthmian games with parsley, and warriors fed the leaves to their horses.
Parsley has thin, spindle-shaped roots, which produce erect, grooved, glabrous, angular stems. The lower leaves are bi- or triternately divided. The dark green upper leaves are divided pinnately into featherlike sections and can be flat or curled, depending on the variety. The small greenish yellow flowers have five petals on compound umbels.
Cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.
Parsley is added to bath water to sooth and cleanse. It also is used in shampoo, perfume, soap, and lotion. It flavors sautÈs, grilled meat, poultry, soups, and salads. It may be used in herbal butters and vinegars or as a garnish. Parsley can be used to make golden green or yellow dyes. It also can be grown in containers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.
Our two dozen plants produced a high yield. To add interest to our garden, we grew both common and curly parsley as filler and as border plants. The foliage provided a fine texture, and the two varieties looked quite similar after the early growth stage. The plants became full and lush, working quite well grouped in small masses and interspersed around the edges of the garden and along pathways. Visitors to the garden were surprised to see parsley grown in this way.