Sea Parsley (Sea Celery)
Apium prostratum (Apiaceae Family)
Sea Parsley - or Sea
Celery, as it is sometimes called - occurs all along the southern
coastline of Australia. It's leaf form and plant dimensions vary
quite considerably from place to place, but most commonly it has an
appearance of shiny dark green parsley, and is in fact closely
related to European parsley.
The significant difference is that it grows right on the
coastline, often submerged by the incoming storm tides. It is the
connection to the seafront, where it grows in composted sea weed
and sand, that gives it it's special flavour. Sea Parsley/Celery
grows in a prostrate manner over rocky ledges and sandy ridges, and
it's small white flower clusters give rise to large amounts of seed
in the summer months.
Although an annual, Sea
Parsley has a resilient tap root like a carrot, which gives it a
semi-perennial capacity. It was identified by early Europeans as
far back as Captain Cook in 1788, and provided a welcome flavour
boost to soup and stews at the time.
This herb is useful in soups, dressings, flavoured butter, with
seafood and in white sauces.