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As a garnish, no herb is better known than Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), and it is grown in several varieties around the world. Native to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, Parsley has spread globally, and is probably one of the most recognised herbs, particularly in the West.
French Parsley or flat-leaf parsley is a biennial that grows to 30cm-40cm, preferring rich well-drained soil in a sunny or partially shady site. It is a clump-forming plant that is easy to germinate from seed, responding best when the seed is soaked overnight in hot water prior to sowing. Showing very prolific growth, French Parsley produces a white tap root and a profusion of leaves, which have a flat triangular shape and a dark green colour. These leaves are the main crop, being very rich in iron and Vitamin A, C and E, and have a stronger flavour than the curled variety. Although yellow-green flowers are produced in umbels in summer, it is best to employ a rotational planting system to ensure that you have fresh young leaves all season, as these are used to add flavour to food rather than just garnish.
Parsley also has the ability to counter strong odours so is often used with garlic or onions.