This plant is indigenous to Britain, and, in its wild state, grows by the side of ditches and along some parts of the seacoast. In this state it is called smallaqe, and, to some extent, is a dangerous narcotic. By cultivation, however, it has been brought to the fine flavour which the garden plant possesses. In the vicinity of Manchester it is raised to an enormous size. When our natural observation is assisted by the accurate results ascertained by the light of science, how infinitely does it enhance our delight in contemplating the products of nature! To know, for example, that the endless variety of colour which we see in plants is developed only by the rays of the sun, is to know a truism sublime by its very comprehensiveness. The cause of the whiteness of celery is nothing more than the want of light in its vegetation, and in order that this effect may be produced, the plant is almost wholly covered with earth; the tops of the leaves alone being suffered to appear above the ground.
The roots of celery are principally used in England for flavouring soups, sauces, and gravies, and for serving with cheese at the termination of a dinner, and as an ingredient for salad. In Italy, however, the green leaves and stems are also employed for stews and soups, and the seeds are also more frequently made use of on the continent than in our own islands. In Germany, celery is very highly esteemed; and it is there boiled and served up as a dish by itself, as well as used in the composition of mixed dishes. We ourselves think that this mild aromatic plant might oftener be cooked than it is; for there are very few nicer vegetable preparations brought to table than a well-dressed plate of stewed celery.
Origin of Celery: n the marshes and ditches of this country there is to be found a very common plant, known by the name of Smallage. This is the wild form of celery; but, by being subjected to cultivation, it loses its acrid nature, and becomes mild and sweet. In its natural state, it has a peculiar rank, coarse taste and smell, and its root was reckoned by the ancients as one of the "five greater aperient roots." There is a variety of this in which the root becomes turnip-shaped and large. It is called _Celeriae_, and is extensively used by the Germans, and preferred by them to celery. In a raw state, this plant does not suit weak stomachs; cooked, it is less difficult of digestion, although a large quantity should not he taken.