Wild chervil is a leafy herbaceous biennial, or short-lived perennial plant, in the family Apiaceae; it resembles other plants in the carrot/parsley family. Native to Europe, it was introduced to North America in wildflower seed mixes. Wild Chervil is a prohibited species on the New York State Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Plants list.
Plants in the carrot/parsley family are difficult to distinguish. The family includes many local native species, edible plants, ornamentals and many weeds, including some that are very poisonous. For positive identification, you should consult a technical flora on the carrot family or contact the noxious weed program. Some of the closest weedy look-alikes are Bur chervil (Anthriscus caucalis), Rough chervil (Chaerophyllum temulum), Poison-hemlock (Conium maculatum), Wild carrot/Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota),
Wild chervil can spread aggressively and choke out other more desirable plant species; on farms, it can easily choke out desirable forage and hay species, and in natural areas and forest edges, it can out-compete native plant species and reduce wildlife habitat. Like most invasive species, once established, wild chervil is difficult and expensive to eradicate.
Habitat: it is generally found in damp areas along roadways and in fields and pastures; it can tolerate a wide range of conditions.
Leaves: are shiny and dark green, finely divided (fern-like) with sharply pointed segments, and are somewhat hairy. Leaves get smaller in size as the closer they are to stem tips.
Stems: grow up to 3 feet tall and are hallow and furrowed, entirely green, hairy on the lower portion and smooth on the upper portions; stem nodes have fringe hairs.
Flowers: are small and white and grow in 3’’ wide umbels (flower heads originate from one point) flowers bloom from April to May.
Seeds: are about .2’’ in length and are shiny and black, and have an elongated oval shape; they join in pairs with small antenna-like structures on top.
Roots: are thick and tuberous and can extend over 6 feet into the soil.
Control & Management
Since wild chervil relies on seeds to reproduce, the control strategy should focus on stopping the plant from flowering and setting seed.
Physical control methods such as mowing, tilling and reseeding the area with competitive native vegetation will help control wild chervil. Plants can also be dug up but it is important to remove entire rootstalk; removal of roots is difficult due to wild chervil’s deep root systems. These methods should be repeated weekly to fully eradicate the species.
Chemical control with broadleaf selective herbicides is generally more effective than non-selective products like glyphosate (Roundup)and Arsenal because they allow the grass to suppress any surviving plants and prevent germination of chervil seeds.
*Plant may cause skin irritation so use caution and wear gloves when handling.
Photo Credits: Flower, leaf, stem, and roots: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org, Range map:http://plants.usda.gov/maps/large/AN/ANSY.png,
“Invasive Plant Atlas of New England.” Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2015. <http://www.eddmaps.org/ipane/ipanespecies/herbs/Anthriscus_sylvestris.htm>.
“Lignan Profiles of Indoor-Cultivated Anthriscus Sylvestris.” Planta Med Planta Medica 69.10 (2003): 959-61. USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Staff. Web. 16 July 2015.
Jefferson County Noxious Weed Control Board. “JEFFERSON COUNTY NOXIOUS WEED CONTROL BOARD F A C T S H E E T 201 West Patison Street, Port Hadlock, WA 98339 360 379-5610 Ext. 205 Noxiousweeds@co.jefferson.wa.us Http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/WeedBoard WILD CHERVIL (Anthriscus Sylvestris).” WILD CHERVIL (n.d.): n.
“Noxious Weeds.” Wild Chervil Identification and Information. King County, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 July 2015. <http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/wild-chervil.aspx>.pag.Noxiousweeds@co.jefferson.wa.us. Web. 15 July 2015. <http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/WeedBoard/pdfs/FactSheets/WildChervil.pdf>.
“Wild Chervil.” Wild Chervil. Stevens County Noxious Weed Control Board, n.d. Web. 16 July 2015. <http://www.co.stevens.wa.us/weedboard/htm_weed/wx.htm>.