Celery is a member of the Umbelliferae (carrot family) Apium graveolens and is an erect strong smelling biennial (botanically) 30 to 60 cm tall. It is native to the British Isles and is a widespread native of temperate Europe growing in damp places especially near the sea. Cultivation probably originated in the Mediterranean area. Greeks and Romans used it only as a medicine 2000 years ago. In 1623 the use of celery as a food crop was recorded. Since then the crop has been improved by more fleshy leaf stalks to give the succulent vegetable we know today.