WILD CELERY

Apium graveolens

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8hemizygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZumbel
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 
smell
smell8celery
celery

9th Aug 2014, River Alt, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
An unusual feature of Wild Celery as an umbellifer is the seemingly fractal concatenation of the umbel plus umbellet units. But this appearance is only because the stalks leading to the umbels are very short. The result is that the umbels plus umbellets are not even all approximately at the same height, but stacked upon each other in leap-frog fashion.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A repositioned specimen to get better photos. Grows near the sea in slightly salty damp areas. This specimen has straight opposite pairs of branches up the stem.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
But this specimen is more curly. Leaves 1-pinnate, forwardly angled side leaflets.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The umbels (which are usually on very short stalks) have the secondary umbellets on long stalks. Just beneath an umbel several branches off the stem can bear further umbels with umbellets, and so on, stacked.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are a little variable, some leaves are diamond shaped with cut teeth/lobes.


8th July 2014, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The compound umbels are quite small.


8th July 2014, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are commonly singly pinnate, the shorter ones with just 3 connected lobes at the termination, with the lobes also being cut (the central leaflet is larger than the 2 outer leaflets with more cuts). The umbels are quite small


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This specimen has 3 branched stems peeling off jest before the lower umbel, each stem bearing a compound umbel.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Closer view.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Another compound umbel with 3 branches peeling off from immediately beneath the lower compound umbel, each branch bearing another compound umbel.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Trident-shaped lealfets beneath a compound umbel.

For the lower umbel there are between 4 and 12 rays whuch are about 1cm long (up to 3cm long).



23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
All compound umbels on Wild Celery lack any bracts beneath either the umbel or the umbellets.

The raylets on the umbeletts seem to be more numerous than the rays but the books fail to say how many. On the above photo, I count at least 19 flower stalks on the top-most umbelett (and the same number of flowers).



8th July 2014, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The individual flowers are tiny, (perhaps 3mm across?). All umbels have hermaphroditic flowers, with both male and female parts in the same florets. Here the white umbel of umbels is older than the pale green set.


8th July 2014, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This umbel has 8 rays each bearing a bunch of clustered flowers.


8th July 2014, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Here the petals are curling backwards to make rom for the expanding (at the moment, green) fruit in the centre of each.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
the floers in a single umbelett. Most have 5 similar-sized petals, although their arrangement around the central developing fruits are slightly zygomorphic. Each flower nominally has 5 filaments bearing a small cream-coloured anther.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits have a flat stylopodium atop from which 2 very short styles protrude, all creamy white.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The anthers and styles.


8th July 2014, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
These lime-green fruits are still developing. Almost all their petals have dropped off.


9th Aug 2014, River Alt, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
As the fruit develop the petals curl over backwards and then fall off.


9th Aug 2014, River Alt, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The ripe fruits will be about 1.5mm long, and are broadly oval but thinner laterally. They are smooth apart from the prominent but slender ridges. When ripe the styles will reflex right over, 'repelling' each other. They have tiny spherical stigmas atop.


9th Aug 2014, River Alt, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The broadly rectangular developing fruits with prominent but thin ridges.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A pinnate leaf at mid-stem.


9th Aug 2014, River Alt, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Two opposite leaves beneath a summit inflorescense.
The peduncle (stalk) of the umbelett is variable in length, often having zero length, here it is very short in length, but it can be a bit longer.


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Stem is very like Celery (and the plant smells of celery) with a few roots (some came away in the uprooting)


23rd July 2015, seaward side, marshes, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Mid-stem. The stem is fluted/ribbed like Celery.


Autumn. Photo: © Kerry Woodfield
Lower leaves are singly-pinnate (as here) but only rarely are they: ternate (with 3 leaflets attached to a single point) or 2-pinnate.


Autumn. Photo: © Kerry Woodfield
Concatenated umbels and umbellets of ripe fruits.


Autumn. Photo: © Kerry Woodfield
Several umbeletts of ripe fruits with their styles fully reflexed and appressed over the stylopodium.


Easily confused with : Celery-Leaved Buttercup (Ranunculus sceleratus) [a plant with similar name belonging to a differing family]

Not to be semantically confused with : Stinking Fleabane (Dittrichia graveolens), Dill (Anethum graveolens) Rue (Ruta graveolens) [plants with identical specific epithet, the last one being toxic]

Easily mis-identified as : Lesser Water-Parsnip (Berula erecta) (well your Author thought this but he was proven wrong!)

The leaves have a slight resemblance to : the highly toxic Cowbane (Cicuta virosa) which contain the severely toxic polyyne Cicutoxin (which Wild Celery does not contain but it does contain many other similar polyynes - see below - but don't forget Wild Celery is not edible - it is the cultivated varieties with much reduced toxins that are edible)

It is found in bare damp slightly saline places near the sea around many of the coasts in England, Wales and Ireland. In the south of England it can sometimes be found inland.

There are two cultivated edible varieties:

  • Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce)
  • Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum)

Both Wild Celery and Parsley contain the diglycoside of the flavone Apigenin which is called Apiin because one of the sugar moieties within it is the relatively uncommon Apiose with a five-membered ring (and which obviously derives its name from Apium graveolens) and which is found in the polysaccharides of cell walls of Parsley and many other plants (the other sugar moiety is glucose).

BUTYLPHTHALIDES


The taste and smell of edible Celery is attributed to two related Benzofuran produced within it: ButylPhthalide and Sedanolide, the latter of which has four stereoisomers (because it has 2 stereocentres). It probably also occurs in Wild Celery.

COUMARINS & FUROCOUMARINS


The Coumarins (which are much less toxic without a furan ring) present in Wild Celery are Osthenol and Celerin.



Toxic FuroCoumarins found in celery Celerin, Bergapten, Apiumetin, Apigravrin, Osthenol, isoPimpinellin, isoImperatorin, 5-MethoxyPsoralen and 8-Methoxypsoralen plus two FuranoCoumarin glycosides Celereoside and Apiumoside.

POLYYNES


The toxic Polyynes Falcarinol, Falcarindiol, 8-OCh3-Falcarindiol and Panaxydiol are also found in Wild Celery plus 4 others lacking a common name.


A PHENYLPROPANOID



Celery also containsLunularin (a dihydroStilbenoid) which is also found the the roots of Hydrangea.


  Apium graveolens  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carrot family8Apiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Apium
Apium
(Marshworts)

WILD CELERY

Apium graveolens

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]