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Anthriscus sylvestris - (L.)Hoffm.

Common Name Cow Parsley, Wild chervil
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards This plant is suspected of being poisonous to mammals[76]. It also looks very similar to some very poisonous species so great care must be taken when identifying it[12].
Habitats A very common plant of roadsides, hedges etc[5].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and Siberia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley, Wild chervil


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Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley, Wild chervil
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future

 

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Summary

A herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant in the family Apiaceae and related to parsley, carrot, hemlock and hogweed. that can be confused with giant cow parsley (Heracleum mantegazzianum) or French cow parsley (Orlaya grandiflora). Some medicinal, edible and other uses although it does have an unpleasant flavour. Common names include cow parsley, wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, keck,or Queen Anne's lace.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Anthriscus sylvestris is a BIENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Chaerophyllum sylvestre L.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

The leaves are eaten raw, cooked as a potherb or used as a flavouring[5, 12, 53, 183]. They taste somewhat less than wonderful[K]. Root - cooked[183].

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.
Tonic

The root is soaked for several days in rice washings and then cooked with other foods as a tonic for general weakness[218].

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Other Uses

Dye

A beautiful green dye is obtained from the leaves and stem but it is not very permanent[115].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most soils. Shade tolerant[31]. The root has been recommended for improvement by selection and breeding as an edible crop[183]. This plant looks quite similar to some poisonous species, make sure that you identify it correctly.

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - sow as soon as ripe (June/July) in situ. The seed can also be sown April/May in situ. It usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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.

Noxious Weed: Massachusetts, US (wild chervil) Prohibited. Washington, US -Class B noxious weed. This plant can be weedy or invasive in other areas.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Hoffm.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Rich (webweaver)   Sat Nov 12 2005

As mentioned in the know hazards this plant looks very similar to Hemlock and Fools parsley. both of which are deadly.

Peter C Horn   Thu May 8 2008

Bellamy in his book 'Blooming Bellamy' maintains that the plant is very poisonous. Every other writer I've read say the plant is harmless. Has Bellamy confused Cow parsley with some poisonous umbellifer, I wonder? peter

   Mon Mar 30 2009

have heard this plant also called Kek. probably not the correct spelling though !¬!

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