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Wild Chervil

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Spring Spring Summer Summer

This plant is very invasive and can be a real problem for arable farmers as well as taking over roadside verges and hedgerow bases.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Wild Chervil, Garden Chervil, Cow Parsley, Queen Annes Lace
Scientific Name Anthriscus sylvestris
Season Start Mar
Season End Nov
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Fern like and a bit like flat leaved parsley. Can be slightly curled and hairy, pinnate and rough to the touch.

Flowers

Small white flowers forming small umbels from April to June.

Seeds

Many seeds on the ends of the umbels.

Stem

The branching leaf stems have a notch running down them, rather like celery.

Habitat

Roadsides, wood edges, field boundries, hedges and waste ground.

Possible Confusion

Many poisonous umbellifers like young Hemlock, Fools Parsley, Hemlock Water Dropwort and a couple of others. We don’t use Wild Chervil as its taste doesn’t warrant the risk of confusing it with other deadly members of its family. If you want to pick a parsley flavoured plant we recommend sticking to Ground Elder!
The adjacent picture is showing a Hemlock leaf.

Smell

A bit like parsley, mildly sweet.

Taste

Like mild parsley with a slight licorice or aniseed hint.

Frequency

Very common.

Collecting

The leaves are one of the first to emerge after a severe winter, otherwise they continue to grow all year.

Medicinal Uses

Chervil has been used in various folk medicines. It was claimed to be useful as a digestive aid and for lowering high blood pressure.

Other Facts

Apparently for baiting slugs!

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