Difference Between Cilantro and Parsley

Cilantro vs Parsley

Scientifically Cilantro has been named as Coriandrum sativum, which belongs to the family Apiaceae. This plant is an annual herb, and every part of the plant is edible. The plant Coriandrum sativum is native to Mediterranean region and is grown in Bangladesh, India, Russia, central Europe and Morocco. Different regions of the world such as Latin America, Spain, China, Russia, and India are using this plant as food, and different countries grow the plant for commercializing. In some regions, it has been recognized as Chinese parsley. The other plant, garden parsley is scientifically identified as Petroselinum crispum is a biennial herb and also a member of family Apiaceae. Parsley is native to Europe and western Asia.


In the 3rd century BC, Roman had used Cilantro seeds to season many food items. It grows to 20-25cm in height with thin stem. Leaves are arranged in an alternative manner and compound. The petiole with two stipules is a sheath at the stem base. The stem and leaves both have pleasant, aromatic smell due to the essential oil available in the plant. The amount of essential oil differs with the source of fruit. The Russian Coriander seed has the highest amount of oil. Both seed and leaves lose its aroma when it gets dry. This plant has various medicinal values including antibacterial, antioxidant properties. Leaves and seeds of the Coriandrum sativum have different tastes from each other and cannot be substituted. The entire young plant is used for flavoring curries, soups, souses and chutneys.


Although parsley is scientifically identified as Petroselinum crispum, generally it is called as curry leaf parsley. It has two varieties namely curly and flat leaf parsley.  This plant is biennial, which grows up to 30cm height. The plant consists of bright green tripinnate leaves which grow as a rosette. The second years of its life time, yellowish flowers appear in the flowering stem. The Parsley seed has numerous compounds including volatile oil, coumarins, flavonoids, phthalides, and vitamins. It soothes various digestive complaints such as indigestion, loss of appetite etc. Leaves of the parsley are mainly used in cooking, but oil, roots and seeds of the parsley plant have various uses.

What is the difference between Cilantro and Parsley?

• Although both plants, in some regions, are identified as parsley, they are two different plants that belong to the same family i.e. Apiaceae.

• The plant Cilantro is an annual herb, and parsley is a biennial herb.

• Parsley is native to Europe and western Asia, while the plant Coriandrum sativum is native to Mediterranean region

• The leaves of Cilantro are compound and alternatively arranged, whereas Parsley has tripinnate curly leaves.

• The smell of the Cilantro is more aromatic than Parsley.

• The taste of the Cilantro seeds and leaves are like citrus flavored whereas Parsley has mild and peppery flavor.

• The entire Cilantro plant is used for flavoring curries, soups souses and chutneys, while leaves of parsley are only part of the plant used for cooking. 

• Both Cilantro and Parsley are considered as having antioxidants, but cilantro has anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.