Originally a bitter, wild marsh plant ranging from Sweden south throughout Europe, celery was used over centuries for medicinal purposes "to purify the blood." The winner of an athletic event in ancient Greece was given a bunch of celery, much like flowers are given today.
Celery may be the same plant as selinon, mentioned in Homer's Odyssey which was written between 800 and 600 B.C.
The English word "celery" comes from the French word "celeri".
The word celeri first appeared in a 9th century French or Italian poem that cited the medicinal uses for it. By the 16th century in Italy and northern Europe it began to appear in gardens but was used only for medicinal purposes.
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