Amore Amaro

Apium graveolens

var. secalinum

Chinese celery

An image of Chinese celery.

Original photo by: Elena Peabody.

Chinese celery has a stronger flavor than other celery cultivars, and both the stalks and leaves are used.


Chinese celery isn‘t known to be an ingredient in any amaro (it can be used to make bitters, though). It has been included here to add depth to the garden design.

While Chinese celery (also known as “leaf celery”) is less well-known in the Western Hemisphere, it is very popular in Northern China.

Historical context

Apium graveolens (likely Apium graveolens var. graveolens or var. dulce) was written about in ancient texts, including in works by Pliny, Palladius, Walafrid Strabo, Albertus Magnus, Piero de’ Crescenzi, in the Capitulare de villis (originally attributed to Charlemagne), and in the Lexicon Plantarum.1 In her Physica, Hildegard von Bingen warns that celery is best cooked but that when eaten in any way, it “induces a wandering mind” — which does not sound like high medicinal praise!

It’s uncertain if Apium graveolens var. secalinum was known to the Medievals, but its inclusion in this garden design is a nod to the adventurous nature of monk-gardeners who liked to try to cultivate new and unfamiliar plants.


Celery is very easily grown from seed as an annual. It does best in well-drained, average to rich soil, with full sun. It enjoys regular water, but is very tolerant of heat and humidity.3


Caterpillars, spider mites, and leaf miners can be a problem.4


  1. Opsomer-Halleux, Carméla. “The Medieval Garden and Its Role in Medicine,” in Medieval Gardens (Dumbarton Oaks Colloquia on the History of Landscape Architecture, v9). Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1986 (p. 106, 113)
  2. von Bingen, Hildegard. Hildegard’s Healing Plants, from Her Medieval Classic Physica. Bruce W. Hozeski, trans. Boston: Beacon Press, 2001 (p. 69).
  3. Missouri Botanical Garden, “Apium graveolens var. dulce.” Accessed July 6, 2019.
  4. Ibid.


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