Herb: Alexanders


Latin name: Smyrnium olusatrum


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Alexanders:

The whole plant is bitter and digestive. It has been used in the past in the treatment of asthma, menstrual problems and wounds, but is generally considered to be obsolete as a medicinal plant.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Biennial


Height:
120 cm
(4 feet)

Flovering:
May to
June


Scent:
Scented
Biennial

Habitat of the herb:

Hedges and waste places, often near the sea.

Edible parts of Alexanders:

Leaves and young shoots - raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews etc. The plant comes into growth in the autumn and the leaves are often available throughout the winter. They have a rather strong celery-like flavour and are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) before use. Leafy seedlings can be used as a parsley substitute. Stem - raw or cooked. It tastes somewhat like celery, but is more pungent. The stem is often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) before use. Flower buds - raw. Added to salads, they have a celery-like flavour. The spicy seeds are used as a pepper substitute. Root - cooked. Boiled and used in soups, its flavour is somewhat like celery. The root is said to be more tender if it has been kept in a cool place all winter.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in an outdoor seedbed in autumn and planted into its permanent position in late spring. Germination can be slow. The seed can also be sown in situ in spring.

Cultivation of Alexanders:

Hedges and waste places, often near the sea.

Known hazards of Smyrnium olusatrum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.