Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See April, May, June
Colour Yellow
Habitat Coastal

A large plant that grows up to 1.5 metres tall and has a thick main stem that can become hollow.

This plant has many clusters of little yellow-green umbel flowers appearing towards the top suspended by offshoots from the main stem. The shiny green leaves smell of celery. Can be confused with cow parsley.


Found mainly towards the coast and found more so in the south. Rare in most of Scotland.


Can be found on cliffs, hedge banks, road sides and other waste land areas. Often near the sea since it is probably more sensitive to frosts, which are less frequent in coastal areas.

Did you know?

Every part of this plant, also known as horse parsley, is edible. In the past almost every part of the plant was used from the young flower-buds which were pickled like miniature cauliflowers to the roots. It was formerly grown as a potherb and may be worth cultivating again for its unusual pleasant taste, a bit like angelica, In Latin the name means the parsley of Alexandria. In England and in Ireland you find it often by ruins of abbeys and castles. A soup called ‘Lenten potage’ was made of Alexanders, watercress and nettles by Irish matrons in the 18th Century.