Wild Chervil

Fact SheetAnthriscus sylvestris

Images of this species:

Common look-alikes:


**CAUTION! This plant contains toxins that cause minor skin irritation.  When treating, wear appropriate clothing to prevent resinous substances from contacting skin.**


Anthriscus sylvestris is a herbaceous biennial that grows up to 3.25 feet in height. The stems are hollow and covered in hairs. 


The plant has alternately arranged, compound, fern-like leaves. Each segment of the leaf can measure 0.5-2 inches in length.


The umbels of this plant are large, having 6-15 rays that can reach up to 1.5 inches in length. Each of the bractlets is lance-ovate in shape and measures 0.1-0.25 inches in length. The flowers are white and have 5 notched petals. Anthriscus sylvestris blooms from May to June.


The fruits are smooth, lanceolate in shape and measure 0.25 inches long. They have a pronounced beak that measures 0.04 inches long. The fruits start out green and turn brown as they ripen.


Distinguished from similar plants by stems that are ribbed or furrowed, entirely green, hairy on the lower portion and smooth on the upper portions and with a fringe of hairs at the stem nodes.



Native to Europe


Abandoned Field, Agricultural Field, Edge, Open Disturbed Area, Pasture, Yard or Garden. Anthriscus sylvestris grows well in rich moist soils and is most commonly found along roadsides, meadows, and pastures. It is particularly problematic in hayfields and pastures in central Vermont

Life cycle

Anthriscus sylvestris can reproduce both by seed and by vegetative means. Vegetatively, it makes use of aggressive, fast spreading taproots that have lateral root buds capable of sprouting new plants. 

Ecological Threat

Anthriscus sylvestris may be transported by vehicles, particularly those used to mow it down after it has set seed, as well as people, animals, and wind. Since it is tall and grows aggressively, it may outcompete native vegetation by forming extensive stands resulting in shading of other species, and by utilizing resources more effectively.

Management Options

This species is considered a watch list species.  

Toxicity Concerns: 

  • Plant may cause skin irritation. Use caution and wear gloves when handling. 

Treatment Concerns: 

  • Wild chervil is a prolific seeder; treatment should happen before plants flower to avoid the mature plants setting seed. 
  • Following treatments, clean all clothing, boots, and equipment before leaving treatment site to ensure no seeds are transported. 
  • Monitor for re-sprouts, missed plants, and new seed bank growth and do follow up treatments as necessary. 
  • Wild chervil seeds can only persist in the soil for a few years before germinating or dying.  
  • Wild chervil can even be found in wildflower seed mixes, so take caution, and purchase mix from reliable sources that identify contents.  

General Guidance:  

Summary of Mechanical Treatment Options 
  • Mechanical treatment can sometimes cause greater disturbance than if the site was left alone or if another treatment option was utilized. 
  • If digging or tilling, remember that soil disturbance can encourage growth from seed bank.   
  • Root fragments left in the ground can resprout and pulled or dug plants left on soil can continue to grow, so it is important to remove the plants thoroughly, and contain the removed material.  

text in a table describing mechanical treatments for Wild Chervil

Summary of Chemical Treatment Options
  • Chemical treatment has limited effectiveness at controlling wild chervil because the species is resistant to many herbicides. If other options for control are exhausted, chemicals may be used to try to achieve management goals. A thorough review of all available, current best management practices is recommended to find the best herbicide to use on a case by case basis. 
  • Be careful not to damage or kill nearby desirable plants when conducting management work.  
  • Always read and follow pesticide label directions. Application of pesticides may require a certification from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The Agency website provides information on what applicator certification is needed.
  • If a treatment for a specific species isn’t listed on a given product, don’t use it. 
  • Product labels may require you to check Endangered Species Protection Bulletins. Learn more about protection bulletins here.  
  • Understand the risk of, and how to avoid, drift.  
  • The timing of some chemical treatments may overlap with when certain plants are flowering, and, in order to protect pollinators, herbicides should not be applied when plants are flowering. To mitigate the risk, consider utilizing an integrated pest management plan, such as cutting the plants to set back flowering time, and then applying pesticides in the lowest effective volume. 
  • Chemical treatments pose a risk to plants, animals, and humans, but can be used in ways that greatly reduce this risk, and provide a solution to otherwise hopeless scenarios. 
  • For questions regarding the appropriate chemical to use for a particular situation, or general information on pesticide safety, ingredients, and more, contact the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ Pesticide Program.  
  • For questions about certification and continuing education credit opportunities, contact the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ Pesticide Program.  
  • For questions about additional training opportunities, contact the UVM Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program.  
  • Special permits are required to apply herbicides in a wetland. Contact Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Wetlands Section for more information.  
  • Herbicides cannot be applied within 200 feet of a Public Water Source Protection Area unless the Water Supply Division is notified. Call 1-800-823-6500 for more information. Similar requirements may be in place for proximity to private water sources.  
  • Forests that are certified organic or adjacent to organically certified agricultural lands may carry restrictions regarding chemical application. Check with the Northeast Organic Farming Agency of Vermont for more information.  
  • The National Pesticide Information Center provides objective, science-based information about pesticides. Check out their website for more information or call 1-800-858-7378. 

text in a table describing chemical treatments for Wild Chervil


There are currently no known biocontrol agents for wild chervil.