We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Petroselinum crispum - (Mill.)Nyman. ex A.W.Hill.

Common Name Parsley
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Parsley is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[218]. Excessive contact with the plant can cause skin inflammation[274]. 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[238]. Avoid with oedema as may cause sodium and water retention. Avoid during pregnancy as parsley fruit associated with abortions. Avoid with kidney disease. Caution with allopathic medications as associated with serotonin activity [301].
Habitats Grassy waste places on walls and rocks[17], especially on limestone and near the coast[165].
Range C. and S. Europe. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Petroselinum crispum Parsley

Petroselinum crispum Parsley


Translate this page:


Bloom Color: Green, Red, White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Early winter, Late summer, Late fall, Mid summer, Mid fall. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Petroselinum crispum is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Petroselinum petroselinum. Petroselinum vulgare. Selinum petroselinum.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Colouring  Tea

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 4, 5, 9, 16, 21, 27]. 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'[244]. The leaves should be harvested regularly in order to encourage fresh growth and get maximum yields[244]. The leaves are difficult to dry but are easily frozen[200]. 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[245]. Very rich in iron, iodine and magnesium, parsley is also a good source of other minerals and the vitamins A, B and C[201, 244]. The stems can be dried and ground and used as a food colouring[183]. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is rich in vitamin C[21, 183]. An essential oil is obtained mainly from the leaves - it is used as a commercial food flavouring[46]. The leaves yields about 1% essential oil, whilst about 6% is obtained from the seed[7]. Some caution is advised on the use of this plant, especially the essential oil. See the notes above on toxicity.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidandruff  Antispasmodic  Aperient  Birthing aid  Cancer  Carminative  Depurative  Digestive  
Diuretic  Emmenagogue  Expectorant  Galactofuge  Kidney  Odontalgic  Ophthalmic  
Poultice  Skin  Stings  Stomachic  Tonic  Urinary  Vitamin C

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[254]. 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[4, 238]. 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[254]. The seed is a safe herb at normal doses, but in excess it can have toxic effects[254]. Parsley should not be used by pregnant women because it is used to stimulate menstrual flow and can therefore provoke a miscarriage[7, 238]. 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[4, 7, 9, 21, 165, 201, 238]. An infusion of the roots and seeds is taken after childbirth to promote lactation and help contract the uterus[238]. Parsley is also a mild laxative and is useful for treating anaemia and convalescents[244]. 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[238]. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with kidney diseases[238]. A poultice of the leaves has been applied externally to soothe bites and stings[4, 7], it is also said to be of value in treating tumours of a cancerous nature[4]. It has been used to treat eye infections, whilst a wad of cotton soaked in the juice will relieve toothache or earache[244]. It is also said to prevent hair loss and to make freckles disappear[244]. If the leaves are kept close to the breasts of a nursing mother for a few days, the milk flow will cease[7]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Petroselinum crispum Parsley for infection of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones (see [302] for critics of commission E).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Essential  Hair  Repellent

Landscape Uses: Border, Container, Massing. A good companion plant, repelling insects from nearby plants[20, 54]. 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[7, 244]. An essential oil obtained from the plant is used in perfumeries for men[238]. An infusion of the leaves is an excellent rinse for dark hair and also helps in the treatment of dandruff[201]. Dynamic accumulator.

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Dynamic accumulator  Food Forest  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or partial shade[4, 16, 31, 37, 52, 200]. Prefers a good light soil that is not too light or acid[1], growing poorly in light acid soils[200]. Parsley is commonly cultivated for its edible leaves[46], there are many named varieties[183]. 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[200]. 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[244]. The Romans wore garlands of it at feasts in the belief that it would prevent intoxication[244]. They kept it away from nursing mothers, however, believing that it could cause epilepsy in the infant[244]. Parsley is superficially similar to several poisonous species, including Fool's Parsley (Aethusa cynapium)[244]. Great care should be exercised if harvesting the plant from the wild[7, 244]. A good bee plant[18, 20, 201]. A good companion plant, especially for growing near roses, tomatoes, carrots, chives and asparagus[18, 20, 54, 201], giving them all added vigour and protection against certain pests, especially carrot root fly and rose beetles[201]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Edible, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

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[1, 134]. Germination usually takes place in about 7 days at 25°c, though it can take 4 - 6 weeks[200]. 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.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Petroselinum crispum tuberosumHamburg ParsleyBiennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNM433
Petroselinum segetumCorn CarawayBiennial1.0 -  LMHSNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Mill.)Nyman. ex A.W.Hill.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Mar 29 2012 12:00AM

an annual in hot/warmer climates

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Petroselinum crispum  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.