Wild Chervil

Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm.

Wild chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm.) is an annual, biennial or short-lived perennial forb that produces small white flowers in umbrella-like clusters along 2 cm long stalks at the end of stems and grows to 0.3-1.8 m tall. Wild chervil is a prolific seed produce and each flower produces two joined, narrow 6-7mm long seeds that are green at first and mature to shiny brown. Fern-like leaves are softly hairy, triangular and divided into smaller leaflets. Wild chervil has thick tabroots that spread aggressively, extending into the soil nearly 2 m and are very difficult to remove.

Wild chervil can be found in ditches, along roadsides, fencelines, stream banks and moist woods, and competes with pasture and hay crops—reducing forage and production. It is considered regionally noxious in BC and found predominantly in the Fraser Valley. 

This invader becomes unpalatable near maturity and livestock will avoid it. It is generally not problematic in cultivated crops, but it acts as a host for a disease that infects other plants in the same family, including carrots, parsnips, and celery. It is difficult to control because of its very deep root system. Wild chervil competes with other plants, shading out smaller plants.

Control of wild chervil includes hand-pulling or digging, but mature plants need to be removed below the crown to prevent resprouting. Mowing must be repeated before the plant sets seed. Chemical control is often precluded due the wet habitat wild chervil prefers. Cut and bag any flowering plants for burning or deep burial. Choose seed mixtures carefully and watch for this in its ingredient list, as it has been found in British wildflower seed mixes.