from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various perennial New World herbs of the genus Osmorhiza of the parsley family, having fleshy aromatic roots, compound leaves, and clusters of small white flowers.
  • n. An aromatic European perennial herb (Myrrhis odorata) having compound leaves and compound umbels of small white flowers. Also called myrrh.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. A plant of the genus Myrrhis (M. odorata) growing in England.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fresh ferny leaves and green seeds used as garnish in salads and cold vegetables; dried seeds used in confectionery and liqueurs
  • n. European herb with soft ferny leaves and white flowers
  • n. aromatic resin that is burned as incense and used in perfume


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English seseli, from Latin seselis, from Greek.


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  • Botanical Name: Myrrhis odorata

    Synonyms---British Myrrh. Anise. Great (Sweet) Chervil. Sweet Chervil. Smooth Cicely. Sweet Bracken. Sweet-fern. Sweet-Cus. Sweet-Humlock. Sweets. The Roman Plant. Shepherd's Needle. Smoother Cicely. Cow Chervil.

    Parts Used---The whole plant and seeds.

    Habitat---Mountain pastures from the Pyrenees to the Caucasus. In Britain, in the hilly districts of Wales, northern England and Scotland.

    Description---The name Myrrhis odorata is derived from the Greek word for perfume, because of its myrrh-like smell.

    Medicinal Action and Uses---Aromatic, stomachic, carminative and expectorant. Useful in coughs and flatulence, and as a gentle stimulant for debilitated stomachs. The fresh root may be eaten freely or used in infusion with brandy or water. A valuable tonic for girls from 15 to 18 years of age. The roots are antiseptic, and a decoction is used for the bites of vipers and mad dogs The distilled water is said to be diuretic, and helpful in pleurisy, and the essence to be aphrodisiac. The decoction of roots in wine is also said to be effective for consumption, in morning and evening doses of 4 to 8 OZ., while the balsam and ointment cure green wounds, stinking ulcers, and ease the pain of gout.

    From "A Modern Herbal" by Mrs. M. Grieve

    January 18, 2009

  • Also called myrrh.

    October 11, 2007