Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Subfamily: Apioideae
Tribe: Oenantheae
Genus: Cryptotaenia
Type species
Cryptotaenia canadensis
(L.) DC.

Cryptotaenia is a genus of two species of herbaceous perennial plants, native to North America, Africa, and eastern Asia, growing wild in moist, shady places.


Species accepted by The Plant List as of August 2014. Some studies have suggested that the African and Canary Island species should be moved to other genera and that the Italian endemic Lereschia thomasii should be included in Cryptotaenia, but we list them here provisionally pending further study.[1][2][3]

  1. Cryptotaenia africana (Hook.f.) Drude - Gabon[4]
  2. Cryptotaenia calycina C.C.Towns. - Tanzania[5]
  3. Cryptotaenia canadensis (L.) DC. - eastern + central North America[6]
  4. Cryptotaenia elegans Webb ex Bolle - Canary Islands[7]
  5. Cryptotaenia flahaultii (Woronow) Koso-Pol. - Republic of Georgia[8]
  6. Cryptotaenia japonica Hassk. - Japan, Korea, China[9]
  7. Cryptotaenia polygama C.C.Towns. - Tanzania[10]

Culinary uses

Cryptotaenia japonica is raised as a seasoning (similar to angelica).

English names for the plant include mitsuba, Japanese wild parsley, stone parsley, honeywort, san ip, and san ye qin (from Chinese: 三叶芹; pinyin: sānyè qín). Like parsley, the flavor is clean and refreshing with a slightly bitter taste which some describe as celery-like. The sprouts are used in salads and soup. In Japan it is commonly used as a garnish in soups or atop entrees or as a sushi ingredient.

Nutritional benefits

Mitsuba's dark green leaves, stems, and pods have an extensive nutritional profile, including high levels of calcium and vitamin C.


  1. The Plant List, search for Cryptotaenia
  2. Hardway, T. M.; Spalik, K.; Watson, M. F.; Katz-Downie, D. S.; Downie, S. R. (2004). "Circumscription of Apiaceae tribe Oenantheae" (pdf). South African Journal of Botany. 70 (3): 393–406.
  3. Spalik, K.; Downie, S. R. (2007). "Intercontinental disjunctions in Cryptotaenia (Apiaceae, Oenantheae): an appraisal using molecular data" (pdf). Journal of Biogeography. 34 (12): 2039–2054. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01752.x.
  4. ORSTOM. 1988. List Vasc. Pl. Gabon Herbier National du Gabon, Yaounde
  5. Townsend, Clifford Charles. Kew Bulletin 38: 59. 1983
  6. Biota of North America Program, 2013 county distribution map
  7. Bolle, Karl August. 1861. Index Seminum [Berlin] Hort. Berol. App. (1861) 9
  8. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Cryptotaenia flahaultii vulnerable rating
  9. Flora of China Vol. 14 Page 80, 鸭儿芹 ya er qin, Cryptotaenia japonica Hasskarl, Retzia. 1: 113. 1855.
  10. Townsend, Clifford Charles. Kew Bulletin 38: 57. 1983.

External links

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