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Toxic parts

Parsley is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[1].

Excessive contact with the plant can cause skin inflammation[2].

Although perfectly safe to eat and nutritious in amounts that are given in recipes, parsley is toxic in excess, especially when used as an essential oil[3].

Edible uses


Leaves - raw or cooked[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. Parsley is frequently used as a garnish or as a flavouring in salads and many cooked dishes, but has too strong a flavour to be eaten in quantity for most palates. It is an ingredient of the herb mix 'bouquet garni'[11]. The leaves should be harvested regularly in order to encourage fresh growth and get maximum yields[11]. The leaves are difficult to dry but are easily frozen[12]. For drying they require a well-ventilated room that receives long hours of sunlight - the leaves need to be quite crisp if they are to store[13]. Very rich in iron, iodine and magnesium, parsley is also a good source of other minerals and the vitamins A, B and C[14][11].

The stems can be dried and ground and used as a food colouring[15]. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is rich in vitamin C[9][15].

An essential oil is obtained mainly from the leaves - it is used as a commercial food flavouring[16]. The leaves yields about 1% essential oil, whilst about 6% is obtained from the seed[17]. Some caution is advised on the use of this plant, especially the essential oil. See the notes above on toxicity.

Unknown part


Material uses

A good companion plant, repelling insects from nearby plants[18][19]. The juice is an effective mosquito repellent when it is rubbed into the skin and is also used to relieve the pain of stings and bites[17][11].

An essential oil obtained from the plant is used in perfumeries for men[3].

An infusion of the leaves is an excellent rinse for dark hair and also helps in the treatment of dandruff[14].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Parsley is a commonly grown culinary and medicinal herb that is often used as a domestic medicine. The fresh leaves are highly nutritious and can be considered a natural vitamin and mineral supplement in their own right[20]. The plants prime use is as a diuretic where it is effective in ridding the body of stones and in treating jaundice, dropsy, cystitis etc[5][3]. It is also a good detoxifier, helping the body to get rid of toxins via the urine and therefore helping in the treatment of a wide range of diseases such as rheumatism[20]. The seed is a safe herb at normal doses, but in excess it can have toxic effects[20]. Parsley should not be used by pregnant women because it is used to stimulate menstrual flow and can therefore provoke a miscarriage[17][3].

All parts of the plant can be used medicinally, the root is the part most often used though the seeds have a stronger action. Parsley is antidandruff, antispasmodic, aperient, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactofuge, kidney, stomachic and tonic[5][17][7][9][21][14][3]. An infusion of the roots and seeds is taken after childbirth to promote lactation and help contract the uterus[3]. Parsley is also a mild laxative and is useful for treating anaemia and convalescents[11]. Caution is advised on the internal use of this herb, especially in the form of the essential oil. Excessive doses can cause liver and kidney damage, nerve inflammation and gastro-intestinal haemorrhage[3]. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with kidney diseases[3]. A poultice of the leaves has been applied externally to soothe bites and stings[5][17], it is also said to be of value in treating tumours of a cancerous nature[5]. It has been used to treat eye infections, whilst a wad of cotton soaked in the juice will relieve toothache or earache[11]. It is also said to prevent hair loss and to make freckles disappear[11].

If the leaves are kept close to the breasts of a nursing mother for a few days, the milk flow will cease[17].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


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Nothing listed.


Seed - Three sowings can provide a year round supply of fresh leaves.

The first sowing is made in a greenhouse in late winter. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in mid to late spring. The second sowing is made outdoors in situ in the middle of spring and the third is also made in situ outdoors, this time in mid to late summer[22][23].

Germination usually takes place in about 7 days at 25°c, though it can take 4 - 6 weeks[12]. Germination time can be reduced by pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in hot water that is allowed to cool quickly, but be careful not to overdo the heat and cook the seed. The seed remains viable in normal storage for 2 - 3 years.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Petroselinum crispum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or partial shade[5][8][24][25][26][12]. Prefers a good light soil that is not too light or acid[22], growing poorly in light acid soils[12].

Parsley is commonly cultivated for its edible leaves[16], there are many named varieties[15]. Three main groups of varieties have developed over a period of time and these have been grouped into subspecies as detailed below:-

    P. crispum crispum. The curly leafed forms of parsley. This is the more ornamental form, especially when used as a dressing in salads, cooked meals etc. It also has a milder flavour. However the curly leaves tend to hold on to surface water and so they are more likely to contract fungal diseases in the winter.
    P. crispum neapolitanum Danert. Italian parsley. This has flat, or plain leaves and is considered to have a stronger flavour. This group is also hardier, in part at least because the leaves can shed water easily.
    P. crispum tuberosum (Bernh.)Crov. Hamburg parsley is a very distinct form with a swollen root that is used as a vegetable. The leaves are not of such good quality as the preceding forms, but can still be used as a flavouring.

Parsley is fairly winter-hardy, though it usually dies down in the cold weather, coming back into growth in early spring. By moving some plants into a protected area such as a greenhouse in the winter, or by putting a frame around them, leaves can usually be made available all winter[12]. Parsley has a long history of use. The ancient Greeks believed that it sprang from the blood of Archemorus, the forerunner of death, and so did not eat it but used it for making wreaths to adorn the dead[11]. The Romans wore garlands of it at feasts in the belief that it would prevent intoxication[11]. They kept it away from nursing mothers, however, believing that it could cause epilepsy in the infant[11]. Parsley is superficially similar to several poisonous species, including Fool's Parsley (Aethusa cynapium)[11]. Great care should be exercised if harvesting the plant from the wild[17][11]. A good bee plant[27][18][14].

A good companion plant, especially for growing near roses, tomatoes, carrots, chives and asparagus[27][18][19][14], giving them all added vigour and protection against certain pests, especially carrot root fly and rose beetles[14].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Petroselinum crispum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Petroselinum crispum.




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Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Petroselinum crispum
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    1. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    2. ? Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)
    3. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    5. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
    7. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    8. ? Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    9. ? Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    11. ? 11.0011.0111.0211.0311.0411.0511.0611.0711.0811.0911.1011.1111.1211.1311.14 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
    12. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    14. ? Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    15. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    16. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    17. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    18. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    19. ? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)
    20. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    22. ? 22.022.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    23. ? Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    24. ? Brown. Shade Plants for Garden and Woodland. ()
    25. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    26. ? Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
    27. ? 27.027.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    28. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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    Facts about "Petroselinum crispum"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyUmbelliferae +
    Belongs to genusPetroselinum +
    Has common nameParsley +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part + and Leaves +
    Has edible useColouring +, Unknown use + and Tea +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Insects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has imageIllustration Petroselinum crispum0.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typeBiennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useEssential +, Hair care + and Repellent +
    Has mature height0.6 +
    Has mature width0.3 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAntidandruff +, Antispasmodic +, Aperient +, Birthing aid +, Cancer +, Carminative +, Digestive +, Diuretic +, Emmenagogue +, Expectorant +, Galactofuge +, Kidney +, Odontalgic +, Ophthalmic +, Poultice +, Skin +, Stings +, Stomachic + and Tonic +
    Has primary imageIllustration Petroselinum crispum0.jpg +
    Has search namepetroselinum crispum + and x +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
    Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
    Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomy namePetroselinum crispum +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +