Wow, that's neat... Does the word for "green" actually mean a celery-colored green, or a dark green? I guess the dictionary wouldn't say... but when I hear "green" I usually think of a bright kelly green, not a celery-colored green. I'm curious if the similarity between the two words in this language means that native speakers think of celery-colored green when they see the word--like orange, in English.
Which now that I think about it is a very individual and subjective thing. So... nevermind. *blushes*
You raise an interesting question. Which came first: orange the color or orange the fruit? I always felt that, in English at least, the color orange was named after the fruit. In Slovene, surprisingly, the similarity between the word for green and the word celery is coincidental. "Zelen" ("green") comes from Old Slavic and cognates are found in every Slavic language, whereas "zelena" ("celery") is an 18th-century borrowing from a Romance language, perhaps from the Friulian sèlino or the dialectal Italian selano, both of which mean "celery" and which are related also to the English word, via the Latin selinum (I got this from Marko Snoj's Slovene Etymological Dictionary). But to answer your question about the kind of green we're talking about, I would have to say it's a general vegetative green. The Slavic root zel means, basically, "a green plant" and, in addition to the adjective zelen ("green"), has given rise to many words in Slovene, such as zeliš�?e ("herb"), zelje ("cabbage"), zelenjava ("vegetable"), and zelenica ("lawn") – but not zelena ("celery")!
Celery has bite! It's part of the pungent Apiaceae family, with dill, fennel and cumin. It's cleansing, purgative, sleek and rapier-like in a stirfry. And for myself, I love its faint, wraithlike hue. Zucchini? Whatever.
Very interesting Slovenian etymology - thanks rolig.
I like chard but it's a vegetable's vegetable, isn't it? It's very squarely a very terrestrial vegetable. Celery has a certain otherworldliness. Celery you can imagine growing on another planet in wild, ghostly plantations; not so chard.
I might even have to defend celery green. It really is a vibrant, intense green. If you've ever grown it yourself you'll know what I mean. The stuff that is grown commercially is intentionally made pale as it is thought consumers prefer this. It's usually done by mounding up soil around the stems to reduce exposure to light. I've heard that in hydroponically-grown it can be done by controlling the nutrients delivered to the plant. So yeah, store-bought celery does have an odd colour about it to me.
I long to frolic through wild, ghostly forests of celery on alien worlds, I really do. Take me away yarb.
The wimpy celery color I'm referring to is, I admit, the lifeless pale green of store-bought celery after it's been sitting in my refrigerator for a couple of weeks. (I'm not a big fan of celery, except in potato salad, where it adds that special crunch.) So the color is not only wimpy, but limpy too! But I am willing to be persuaded by bilby that somewhere out there (maybe where the truth is, too) a vibrant green forest of celery waits to be frolicked in.
OK, I can appreciate the "this could grow on Mars" viewpoint of celery. I *certainly* appreciate the view that it adds a special crunch (I had some every day this week, in fact). And I do know that locally-grown celery at the farmer's market is a nicer green than the pale crap from the supermarket. Nevertheless, I respectfully continue to maintain that:
a) chard, especially that chard with the red or white stalks or veins and the deep deep green leaves, is far more stunningly beautiful than celery (and acknowledge that this could be true for me only because I can't eat it, so it's the lure of the unpossessable),
b) zucchini, in its happy shape, solid physical presence, deep speckled greenness, and willingness to become yummy when cooked the way it seems only Italians know how to do, is a far superior vegetable for certain purposes which include "sounding like zamboni," and
c) when searching for paint colors, anything called "celery" or similar variants such as celeriac (though a different vegetable entirely) is a wimpy green.
I'll just leave it at that, after thanking my fellow Wordies for the delightful conversation about vegetables, one of my favorite topics. :)