Petroselinum. U. S. Parsley Fruit. Petrosel. [Parsley Seed]
Related entry: Parsley root
"The dried ripe fruit of Petroselinum sativum Hoffman (Fam. Umbelliferae), without the presence or admixture of more than 5 per cent. of foreign seeds or other matter. Preserve Parsley Fruit carefully in tightly-closed containers, protected from light." U. S.
Ache, Persil, Fr.; Petersilie, G.; Prezzemolo, It.
Petroselinum sativum Hoffman (Apium petroselinum L.).—The common parsley, which is used extensively as a culinary herb, is a hardy biennial bearing pinnately-compound leaves, which in the cultivated varieties are greatly divided. During its early stages the leaves are arranged in rosettes and the plant is six inches or less above the ground; the flowering and fruiting plant, however, is from 2 to 3 feet in height. It is a native of Sardinia and was introduced into England in 1548, and is naturalized in salt marshes on the coast of California. It has been cultivated as a sweet herb since earliest times and was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a part of their festive garlands on account of retaining its color so long.
Parsley-root is recognized by the N. F.; it is spindle-shaped, about 1 cm. in thickness, externally white and marked with close annular wrinkles, internally fleshy and white with a yellowish central portion. It has a pleasant odor and sweetish slightly aromatic taste, but loses this property by long boiling and by time. It was formerly used as a diuretic in dropsical affections, but has been shown by Cow (A. E. P. P., 1912, lxx, p. 393) to possess very feeble powers.
The fruit, which has been admitted into the U. S. P. IX consists of two dry, seed-like, mericarps, which are in the fresh state joined along the central commissure. It is officially described as follows: "Mericarps usually separated, ovoid-crescent shaped, from 2 to 3 mm. in length and about 1 mm. in diameter; externally grayish-brown, becoming grayish or brownish on aging, having 5 yellowish, filiform, prominent ribs, alternating with the coarsely roughened furrows; in transverse section nearly hemispherical, the commissural surface with 2 vittae or oil-tubes, the dorsal surface usually with a single vitta, occasionally 2 vittae in the groves between the primary ribs; endosperm large, oily, enclosing a small embryo; odor and taste characteristic and aromatic, especially when bruised. Under the microscope, sections of Parsley Fruit show an epidermal layer with thick cuticularized walls having numerous small centrifugal projections; several layers of small, thin-walled parenchyma cells, being usually considerably collapsed and occasionally containing a rosette aggregate of calcium oxalate; a single, large, brown, elliptical vitta or oil-tube between each of the primary ribs and surrounded by a. layer of comparatively large yellowish-brown, tangentially elongated cells; a single fibro-vascular bundle more or less surrounded by a few or occasionally numerous sclerenchymatous fibers; inner epidermis of narrow, thin-walled elongated cells closely cohering with the brownish tabular cells of the seed-coat; commissural surface usually with 2 large vittae, a very few stone cells and showing a slight separation of pericarp and seed-coat; endosperm of polygonal, thick-walled parenchyma cells containing fixed oil and numerous, small aleurone grains usually containing a small rosette aggregate of calcium oxalate. The vittae usually contain yellowish oil globules or a resin-like mass adhering to the walls, and occasionally are divided by a radial wall. The powder is grayish-brown; mostly of large, irregular fragments; cells of endosperm with aleurone grains, each usually containing a rosette aggregate of calcium oxalate, from 0.003 to 0.007 mm. in diameter; fragments with light yellow vittae and the yellowish-brown cells of the pericarp; fragments with narrow tracheae and more or less lignified sclerenchymatous fibers." U. S.
All parts of the plant contain a volatile oil, to which it owes its odor and mainly its taste, as well as its use in seasoning. This oil consists of a hydrocarbon, C10H16, probably pinene, and apiol. Braconnot obtained from the herb a peculiar substance, resembling pectic acid in appearance, which he named apiin. It is procured by boiling the herb in water, straining the liquor, and allowing it to cool. The apiin then forms a gelatinous mass, which requires only to be washed with cold water. (Ber. d. Chem. Ges., 1876, 1121) found that by repeated dissolving of this gelatinous mass in alcohol and precipitation by water it could be purified and then obtained from concentrated alcoholic solution in silky needles of the formula C27H32O16. Joret and Homolle found the seeds to contain a volatile oil, a crystallizable fatty matter, pectin, what they believe to be the apiin of Braconnot, chlorophyll, tannin, a coloring matter, extractive, lignin, various salts, and, in addition to these, a peculiar substance to which they gave the name of apiol. This, however, is a mixture only partly consisting of true apiol which is the di-methoxymethylene ether of allyl-tetra-oxybenzene, C12H14O4: (See Oleoresina Petroselini.)
Off. Prep.—Oleoresina Petroselini, U. S.