Smyrnium olusatrum   Alexanders I

Smynium olusatrum whole Smynium olusatrum close

This introduced European plant was originally known as Petrolselinum alexandrinum (Parsley of Alexandria) in medieval times hence the common name Alexanders. It was introduced for its use as as a pot herb.

If you're travelling towards your seaside destination and you begin to see Alexanders by the side of the road, you can't be far away. Large umbellifers are difficult to represent with just one photograph but the left hand photo fairly represents this plant with its overall greeny yellow appearance, glossy green leaves and tall habit.

As you can tell by the dates, the main crop of Alexanders flowers very early but carries on flowering well into the Spring and some flowers can usually be found at most times of the year.

Although associated with coastal habitats Smyrnium olusatrum does grow inland and is common in south west and south eastern England. It is common around the coastline of Wales but records tail off as you go into Scotland where is there is a little in east but hardly any in the north. In Ireland it is fairly common and tends to be found more in the east.

Smyrnium olusatrum

Smyrnium olusatrum Alexanders

Great Orme, North Wales 7th March 2007

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Smyrnium olusatrum Alexanders

LHS: Cliffs at Llandudno 19th February 2005 RHS: Great Orme, North Wales 7th March 2007

Added on 8th November 2004, updated 19th January 2005, updated 9th February 2012

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