Wild Chervil

Fact SheetTreatmentAnthriscus 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.


This is considered a watch list species


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

Check out the downloadable treatment sheet above.

Mechanical Control

Wild chervil’s out-competes natural vegetation. The weed is also a known host for a virus disease that infects carrots, celery, and parsnips. Wild chervil is very difficult to control because of its extremely deep taproot and tolerance to selective herbicides. Rosettes and immature plants can be controlled by digging out the roots. Mature plants must be removed below the root crown to prevent resprouting. It is not known as a problem in cultivated fields.

**Be careful not to damage or kill nearby native plants when conducting management work. And when using herbicides, always follow the instructions on the label.**


Photo Credit

5448725, 5448737, 5448761, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

1380317, Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

5089067, Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org

5271013, Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut 

Information Credit 

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, Second Link 

USDA Forest Service

King County, WA