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(parsley), a genus of plants of the family Umbelliferae. The plants are annual or biennial herbs. Of the three known species, only parsley (P. sativum, or P. erisum) is cultivated. A biennial cross-pollinating plant, parsley forms a rosette of leaves and a root in the first year and a flower stalk (75-150 cm tall) and seeds in the second. The ternately pinnatifid leaves are either smooth or curly, and the flowers are yellowish green and very small. The fruit has two small seeds, which have a characteristic odor.
Parsley, which is native to Mediterranean countries, is cultivated in most countries of the world. There are two varieties; var. tuberosum is grown for its thick taproot, and var. latifolium is raised for its small root and branching leaves. In the USSR, the first variety is most often cultivated. Parsley is resistant to cold temperatures, with its seeds sprouting at a temperature of 2°-3°C. When there is a good snow cover, the roots winter in the ground. Parsley may be sown in autumn, early spring, and summer under various climatic conditions. The plant is not drought resistant. The seeding rate is 4 to 6 kg per hectare. The seed is sown 2 to 2.5 cm deep; maintenance includes loosening the soil, thinning, and weeding.
Parsley is valued for its fragrance, which results from a high content of essential oils. A powder made from the seeds or an infusion of the leaves and stems is used as a diuretic or carminative. The leaves and roots are used fresh or in dried form as a food seasoning; they are also used in the canning industry.