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Chaerophyllum bulbosum - L.

Common Name Turnip-Rooted Chervil
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards One report suggests that the leaves and roots are poisonous[1]. The same report says that this plant is cultivated for its edible root! The root is unlikely to be poisonous[K].
Habitats Fallow fields and water meadows from 1000 - 2100 metres in Turkey[93].
Range Europe to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Chaerophyllum bulbosum Turnip-Rooted Chervil

Chaerophyllum bulbosum Turnip-Rooted Chervil


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Chaerophyllum bulbosum is a BIENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Meadow; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Stem
Edible Uses:

Root - raw or cooked[2, 33, 34, 37, K]. The raw root is rather tough, but has a nice, aromatic, starchy flavour[K]. When cooked it becomes floury and sweet[27] with a peculiar flavour that is excellent and unlike any other vegetable[183]. Peeling the roots ruins the flavour[183]. The root is about the size of a small carrot[2]. It can be harvested when the foliage dies down, usually in July/August from an autumn sowing, and stored like potatoes for later use[1]. It is best harvested as required[164]. The roots contain about 20% starch and 4% protein[74]. Young stems - raw or cooked[74]. Some caution is advised, see notes at the top of the sheet.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, succeeding in almost any soil[1], though it prefers a moist soil[27]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.6 to 7. The turnip-rooted chervil is occasionally cultivated for its edible root[46, 61], there is at least one named variety[183]. The sub-species C. bulbosum prescottii (synonym C. prescottii) is used in Russia[74]. The root of this sub-species contains about 17% starch[74].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in the autumn in situ[33]. The seed has a very short viability[1] or, according to another report, the seed becomes dormant if allowed to dry out and will not germinate for a year[164]. If stored for a spring sowing it should be kept in damp sand in a cold but frost-free place and then sown in situ in March[1]. Another alternative is to sow the seed in the autumn in a seed tray in a cold frame and then to sow the seed, soil and all, in early April in situ[164].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Chaerophyllum tuberosumShamBiennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Chaerophyllum villosum Perennial0.3 -  LMHSNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Steve Dupey   Thu Dec 1 2005

Easily grown..wonder about potential as an invasive plant . Cold hardy like parsnips but with milder better flavor. Resembles a fat cream colored halflong carrot which is freeze proof. After cold storage for six to eight weeks or harvested November..was delicious. Rich, sweetish, nutty as noted above.. except that I found the peeled roots were excellant also, and cooked quickly. Mashed roots looked identical to mashed potatoes but were yellowish and much better tasting. This would seem to be a rootcrop destied to become a staple favorite fortemperate climates with its many attractive qualities and ease of cultivation. The freeze resistance combined with superb flavor and digestibility would seem to suggest an important role as a foodcrop of the future.

Neil Millward   Mon Nov 6 2006

A friend brought me two tubers which he had bought in the market in Morlaix, Brittany. They we delicious raw and appear to have great potential as a cultivated crop. I WOULD BE VERY GLAD TO KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME SEED TO TRY THIS VEGETABLE OUT IN MY KITCHEN GARDEN IN SOUTH DEVON. Can Steve Dupey or anyone else help, please?

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future.   Mon Nov 6 2006

Various seed suppliers have listed this plant, but they do not list it every year. The following was listing it last year. http://www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com

Steve Dupey   Sat Dec 2 2006

I obtained my seeds from "The Organic Garden Catalogue" which is in England and doesnt seem to carry them now. Thomas Etty Esquire lists them as turnip rooted chervil. His may be an earlier form than the recently improved cultivar from France which I obtained. An earlier form has blackish skin and light interior while these were light skinned. Have not ordered from T Etty so dont know. Also have never used b and t world seeds.

Paul Haigh   Sun Apr 27 2008

According to 'AICHELE, D & GOLTE-BECHTLE, M. 1975, Field Guide in Colour to Wild Flowers. London: Octopus' the parts above ground are poisonous, however the parts underneath ground are edible. Rather than being a new vegetable it's a very old one - it only fell out of favour as a provider of starch after the Potato was returned from the New World by Walter Raleigh. However there's also a warning that it's easily mistaken for Hemlock.

Hristo Hristov   Sat Jan 31 2009

"According to 'AICHELE, D & GOLTE-BECHTLE, M. 1975, Field Guide in Colour to Wild Flowers. London: Octopus' the parts above ground are poisonous" They are not poisonous. The peeled flowering stems are (although very rarely) eaten here (quite good taste), but indeed it's easily mistaken for Hemlock which is very poisonous. Because of that most people do not eat them, thinking they are poisonous. But if you look closer these 2 species are quite different. Also both smells (differently), but Hemlock smell is much worse.

Judith Wermig   Thu Nov 5 2009

I have recently bought from a French supermarket(at great expense) and eaten these tubers. Delicious. They are available in France as seeds, from the Baumaux seed catalogue. If I see any more, I will certainly buy them.

Graines Baumaux seedcatalogue

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Subject : Chaerophyllum bulbosum  
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