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Hardy biennial herb (Petroselinum crispum) of the family Apiaceae, or Umbelliferae, native to Mediterranean lands. The compound leaves are used in cooking. The family Apiaceae, sometimes called the parsley family, contains 300–400 genera of plants found in a wide variety of habitats, mostly in northern temperate regions. Most are aromatic herbs with feathery leaves. The flowers are often arranged in a conspicuous umbel (a flat-topped cluster). Many species are poisonous, including poison hemlock. Popular members of the family include carrot, celery, parsnip, and fennel. Species used as herbs and spices include anise, dill, coriander, caraway, and cumin (Cuminum cyminum).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on parsley, visit Britannica.com.