Parsley is an umbelliferous plant native to the E. Mediterranean area (Linnaeus believed that its origin was in Sardinia) and related to celery, with which it has occasionally formed hybrids. The ancient Greeks used the name selinon for both parsley and celery, and only occasionally bothered to distinguish parsley as petroselinon, meaning ‘rock’ celery or parsley. Later the Romans used the word apium in a similarly ambiguous way. Thus it is difficult to tell which is meant. However, the Greek writer Theophrastus, writing before 300 bc, describes curly-leafed and flat-leafed varieties of parsley similar to the two main modern types.