Pastinaca sativa, Parsnip seeds
Pastinaca sativ, parsnip
Pastinaca sativa belongs to the family of the Apiaceae, the umbelliferous plants. Pastinaca sativa is also known as parsnip. The perennial, herbaceous plant can get 1 m high. The shoot is square- edged. The leaves are mostly 5 cm long and pinnate. If one cuts the leaves it smells like carrots and fennel. The leaves can be used as a spice, dried or fresh. The flowers are small, actinomorphic and are clustered in umbels. The blooming time is between July and August. The fruit is a so called achene that gets distributed with animals or with the wind. Parsnip is native to whole Europe and does not have special needs concerning the area around. Another edible part of the parsnip is the root. It is yellow to whitish and reaches a length of about 20 cm. It can have a weight of about one kilogram. Already the Germanic people used the parsnip as a vegetable. The parsnip was one of the most important vegetables in the middle Ages. With the introduction of the carrot and the potato in the 18th century the parsnip got more and more unimportant until one almost forgot about the plant as a vegetable. But that is quite a pity because the spicy and sweetish root of the parsnip is not only a healthy (containing much vitamin C) and delicious vegetable; it is also usable in medicine. Pastinaca sativa can reduce fever and pain. In the kitchen one can make a mash from the parsnip or chips. In addition beer and wine can be gained from this plant. In frozen form the parsnip can be stored for a longer time without losing its aromatics. In Germany one almost forgot about the parsnip. In Scandinavia for example it is still used today.
The parsnip should be planted outside during March or a little later depending on the weather. A late frost can cause early starting of generative growing what is not desirable for vegetables like the parsnip. It is best to plant the seeds at a warm place, 1 cm deep into the substrate. The substrate can be loamy. Germination time varies depending on weather. Grown inside, germination occurs quite fast. The parsnip needs much water especially during summer time.