Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Anthriscus - Chervil

Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) Carrot [E-flora]

"Annual, biennial, taprooted, glabrous or bristly. Stem: erect, branched. Leaf: generally cauline; blade oblong to ovate, pinnately or ternately dissected or compound, segments or leaflets linear-oblong to ovate. Inflorescence: umbels compound, generally peduncled; bracts generally 0; bractlets several, reflexed, entire; rays, pedicels few, spreading. Flower: outer occasionally ± bilateral; calyx lobes 0; petals narrow, white. Fruit:' narrowly elongate to ovoid, beaked, smooth or bristly; each half ± cylindric; ribs, oil tubes 0 or obscure; fruit axis entire or notched at tip. Seed: face grooved.
± 15 species: Eurasia, Africa. (Ancient Greek name)" [Jepson]


Local Species;

  1. Anthriscus caucalis - bur chervil [E-flora]
  2. Anthriscus sylvestris - wild chervil [E-flora]

Anthriscus caucalis - Bur Chervil

General: "Annual or biennial herb from a taproot; stems branched, glabrous, 40-90 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat / Range: "Moist fields, ditches, disturbed sites and waste places in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC, known from SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Fraser River delta; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]


Seed and Pericarp
Mass of 1,000, g: 0.4
Oil, % dry wt: 20.8
Iodine value, % J2: 97.0
Composition (GLC, Ag+ TLC), %: 16:0 – 4.2; 18:0 – 0.6; 18:1(6) – 68.9; 18:1(9) – 6.4; 18:2 – 19.3; others (3) – 0.4 [LEO]

Anthriscus neglecta var. scandix (Scop.) Hyl.
Anthriscus scandicina [E-flora]


Anthriscus sylvestris - Wild Chervil

"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 Apr to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are 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." [PFAF]

General: "Annual or biennial herb from a taproot; stems branching, glabrous, to sparsely soft-hairy, 50-100 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat / Range
"Wet to moist disturbed sites, fields and margins of woods in the lowland and montane zones; rare in SW and SE BC; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]
"A very common plant of roadsides, hedges etc[5]. Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and Siberia." [PFAF]

Status: Exotic. " [E-flora]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses


Anthriscus sylvestris: "Anodyne Takeda; Corn Hartwell; Febrifuge Takeda; Tumor Hartwell" [DukePhyto]


Anthriscus sylvestris
Oil, % dry wt: 17.6–21.8 [1]
Composition (GLC, Ag+ TLC), %: 16:0–3.1–3.3, 18:0–0.1–0.9, 18:1(6)–55.7–66.8, 18:1(9)–4.7– 11.7, 18:2–24.8–28.0, 18:3–0.1–0.2 [1]
Carotene, mg/fresh wt: 14.5 [2]
Seed and Pericarp
Mass of 1,000, g: 3.0 [3], 4.635 [4]
Oil, % dry wt: 21.8 [3]
Iodine value, % J2: 107.0 [3]
Composition (GLC, Ag+ TLC), %: 16:0– 3.3;18:0– 0.9; 18:1(6) – 55.7; 18:1(9) – 11.7; 18:2 – 28.0; 18:3 – 0.1; others (2) – 0.3 [3]
Essential oil, % abs. dry wt: tr [4][LEO]

"Several wild species with umbels of white flowers and similarly finely cut leaves have traditionally been called ‘parsley’ in combination with one prefix or another (and shared other vernacular names as well, including ‘keck’, ‘Queen Anne’s lace’ and even ‘hemlock’). Anthriscus sylvestris is by far the commonest of them, at any rate in England—in the north and west of the British Isles it tends to be much scarcer—though its abundance may have come about only in recent centuries, as a consequence of the multiplication of roadside verges.
Whether or not records for ‘wild parsley’ or ‘hedge parsley’ belong to Anthriscus sylvestris, one or more herbs passing under those names have at any rate enjoyed a reputation in Gloucestershire (in the recipe book of a barely literate farmer53) and the Isle of Man54 as a cure for kidney or bladder stones or gravel. As that was one of the virtues also credited to the parsley of gardens (Petroselinum crispum (Miller) Nyman ex A. W. Hill), however, the exploitation of the wild relative(s) may merely have been a carry-over from the cultivated species. More convincingly folk in origin was the use of a ‘wild parsley’ known as tath lus in the Outer Hebrides, where, especially in Eriskay, a preparation of that was once valued by women crofters as a sedative.55 Anthriscus sylvestris is known to occur in those islands, though very sparsely.
In Ireland ‘wild parsley’ is similarly on record from Cavan56 and Westmeath57 as a remedy for kidney trouble. In the case of Westmeath, garden parsley has also served as a source of the preparation in question." [MPFT]

Cultivation & Propagation

"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." [PFAF]

"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 20oc." [PFAF]



  1., Accessed Dec 25, 2014
  2. [E-flora] Anthriscus sylvestris,, Accessed August 9, 2020
  3. [LEO]A.I. Glushenkova (ed.), Lipids, Lipophilic Components and Essential Oils from Plant Sources, DOI 10.1007/978-0-85729-323-7, # Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012
  4. [PFAF] Anthriscus sylvestris,, Accessed August 9, 2020

Non-local Species

Sp. mentioned: Anthriscus cerefolium [Grow Herbs][NSSH Bubel].

Anthriscus nemorosa: "The smoke of this species was prized in the Ladakh region of India as a cure for rheumatism and inflammation (Navchoo and Buth 1989)." [UAPDS]

Chervil - Anthriscus cerefolium

Habitat/Range: "This herb, native to the Middle East and the Caucasus, has been cultivated throughout Europe, North America, and Australia where, in some areas, it has naturalized." [Grow Herbs]


"Days to Germination: 14 days at 55oF (13oC)
When to Plant: Chervil likes cool weather, so you can sow seeds outdoors in early spring, or plant them in the fall.
How to Plant: Chervil’s delicate seedlings don’t transplant well, so it is usually sown directly in the garden. Cover the planted seeds with a thin sprinkling of soil. When seedlings appear, thin them to stand 9 to 12 inches apart. Chervil grows quickly and its finely cut, parsleylike leaves are at their best before flowering and in cool weather.
Growing Conditions: It reseeds readily and appreciates fairly rich, moist soil and a protected location where the sun isn’t too hot." [NSSH Bubel]


Page last modified on Monday, August 10, 2020 11:57 PM