It has different derivations: (from apex, the toft, because it has a large head; from apis, a bee, because they use it; or from Apium 976 or mild ).

Smallage. Apium graveo/ens Lin. Sp. Pi. 379.

The fresh roots of smallage, when produced in the native watery places, partake in some degree of the quality of hemlock; have an unpleasant smell, and bitterish acrid taste; but by drying they lose the greatest part of their ill flavour, and become sweetish; they are aperient and diuretic, but the seeds are to be preferred in all medical purposes, and are good carminatives. In distillation these seeds yield an essential oil, and they give out their virtue to spiritus vini. rect. so completely, as, on evaporation, to leave an excellent extract.

The cicuta aquatica, growing naturally in the same places, may be mistaken for it; but the leaves of this cicuta are deeply divided down to the pedicle, into three long, narrow, sharp pointed segments; but those of smallage are only slightly cut into three roundish obtuse ones.

A variety of this species is called apium dulce; palus-tre, eleoselinum, heleoselinum, paludapium, and celeri Italorum. 13y culture this plant hath been improved, and is the celeri of our gardens, called Apium sativum; in this state the roots have an agreeable warm sweetish taste, without any of the ill flavour of the original smallage: but Ray observes, that, if neglected, it degenerates into its first disagreeable state. However, as by culture and excluding the light, an operation styled blanching, or etiolation, this plant is improved for the table, it is rendered less powerful as a medicine.

The marsh smallage is a larger sort, growing also in watery places, of the same nature as the celeri.