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Celery (apium graveolens)

1.'Common (stalk) celery' - which has swollen petioles (leaf-stalks).

2. 'Celeriac' - the swollen rootstock.

3. 'Leafy celery' - sometimes known as soup celery; this is similar to Chinese celery and the wild plant that is native to Europe and Asia.

The wild plant was probably originating in the Mediterranean, was first used medicinally, before the stalk variety was further developed in Italy in the 16th century. It was mentioned by John Evelyn in his writings in the 1690's, so was known in Britain by then. It is now grown in red, green and yellow self-blanching varieties.

Celeriac is more recent, but was available in this country by the 1720's. Unlike carrots, celeriac isn't a root as such, but the lowest part of the stem, and is therefore technically a corm.

All provide a good source of vitamins A, B1 and B2, as well as the minerals calcium, phosphorus, and silicon. Celery is especially-rich in potassium and sodium - four fresh stalks provide about 340mg potassium and 120mg sodium, and their juices make an excellent electrolyte replacement drink. See "Celeriac (Apium Graveolens var. Rapaceum) ("") "; "Celery; Culinary uses"; "Celery; Medicinal uses"

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