Today’s Guest: Apium graveolens, commonly known as Celery

Sofia Ceiba: Howdy! Today we are meeting someone that may be familiar to you all as a healthy nutritious snack or ingredient in your favorite …

Yelly Celery:  SNACK FOOD!  WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE SNACK FOOD?!  “It’s nutritious, it crunches, you can put peanut butter on it” … blah blah blah. WHY DO WE ALWAYS GET INTRODUCED AS SNACK FOOD?!

Sofia Ceiba: Oh, I’m sorry, I did not mean to offend you … uh, I’m sorry what did you want to be introduced as again?

Yelly Celery: YELLY! My name is Yellery Celery, BUT YOU CAN CALL ME YELLY!

Sofia Ceiba: Hi, Yelly. So what is it about celery being called a healthy snack food that …

Yelly Celery: DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED! All we celery ever hear is “Celery is healthy, but it’s boring!” or “Celery has no taste!” or “Uh, do we have to have celery again?” 

CELERY IS NOT BORING! Celery grows wild in marshy soils in the Mediterranean area around Northern Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

We hung out with the ancient Egyptians and they used us for important ceremonial decorations! You know what a garland discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb was made out of? Do you? Garlic? NO! Carrots? NO! CELERY!  

We also hung out with the ancient Greeks! Homer wrote about us in the Iliad! Did he mention tomatoes? Do you think parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme were hanging out in classic Greek literature? NO! IT WAS CELERY!  

And we don’t stop at the Mediterranean – oh no! We made it all the way to China! You think it was easy making it all the way across Asia 2000 years ago?! No cars, no planes, no space ships! CELERY CONQUERED THE WORLD! 

If people think that WE ARE BORING, it means that THEY ARE BORING!

Sofia Ceiba: Thanks for the information, Yelly. That’s really interesting. When people think of celery, they usually think of your stalks. Can you tell us …

Yelly Celery: STALKS! WHY IS IT ALWAYS STALKS? Did you know those crunchy bits you eat are actually leaf parts? Technically, what you call the “stalk” is a PETIOLE! You are eating our LEAVES, people, not our stalks! 

And why does everyone focus on the green part? What about our ROOT?! You can eat that too. Haven’t you heard of CELERIAC?! It’s the SAME SPECIES as the snacking celery you buy in shops, but it is grown for the root. Didn’t you know that?! 

Sofia Ceiba: Uh, I’ll have to check it out. Thank you for being here today, Yelly.

Yelly Celery: YOU’RE WELCOME.

Fun fact: Wild celery grows in marshes and likes moist soils!

Fun activity: create colorful celery!

Conduct an experiment to learn how liquid moves through celery. Visit: PBS Kids

Who is Sofia Ceiba?

Sofia is a curious tree. She loves to meet new botanical friends. Get to know Sofia and her fellow Mongabay Kids host Doug Beetle.