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APIUM graveolens (Rapaceum Group)

Image of Apium graveolens (Rapaceum Group)

Jessie Keith

Family

Apiaceae

Botanical Name

APIUM graveolens( Rapaceum Group)

Plant Common Name

Celeriac

General Description

Little known in the United States, celeriac is grown for its rather homely, bulbous, edible "roots". Thought to have originated in northern Europe, it is a variety of celery (Apium graveolens), a widely cultivated biennial native to Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. Celeriac is also known as celery root or knob celery.

Protruding from the soil like a knobby, partially buried baseball, the edible "root" gives rise to long fleshy stalks bearing deep green, incised, compound leaves. The "root" is actually a swollen hypocotyl - the part of the embryonic plant between the true roots and the seed leaves. Plants not harvested their first year produce large umbrella-like clusters (umbels) of small creamy white flowers in spring. The flowers give rise to dry fruits filled with small fragrant seeds. Young plants may flower (or "bolt") if repeatedly exposed to cool nights.

Celeriac grows best in full sun and moist, deep, fertile, humus-rich soil. Too much heat leads to bitter-tasting leaves and roots, as does bolting. In warmer climates plant in late summer or fall. In cooler regions start plants in a warm greenhouse and transplant them outside after nights have warmed. Time from sowing to harvest is 120 to 200 days. The smooth, white, slightly bitter flesh is celery-flavored with sweet hints of parsley. Individual leaf stalks may also be cut and used like celery. Knob celery stores well for long periods and the peeled "root" may be eaten raw, or cooked in soups or stews.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    12"-36" / 30.5cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes