Celery, a vegetable of the parsley family, grown principally for its edible stalks. The entire celery plant has a pleasant, distinctive odor, making the vegetable especially useful in flavoring soups, stews, salads, and other dishes. Celery is often eaten raw as an appetizer, either raw or with dips. Especially popular are the tender inner stalks, or “heart.” The leaves are used as garnish and celery seed is used for seasoning.
This vegetable was developed from a type of wild celery that grows in Europe and Asia. Typically, celery has tall, grooved leafstalks, colored green or white, and bright green leaves. Most types are blanched to make the stalk white and tender. Blanching is done by shutting off sunlight from the stalks, either by banking dirt around them or by covering them with shields. Celery grows best in a cool, moist soil.
Celeriac is a variety of celery grown primarily in Europe for its turniplike root. It has virtually no edible leafstalks.
Celery is Apium graveolens dulce; celeriac, A. g. rapaceum. Both are of the family Umbelliferae.