Washington State Weeds

Wild Chervil

Wild Chervil

Anthriscus sylvestris • Class B

Family Name: Apiaceae family (ay-pee-AY-see-eye)
Common: Carrot/celery family (formerly Umbelliferae)
Genus: Anthriscus (an-THRISS-kuss)
Meaning: From the Greek and Latin name for another but unidentified plant
Species: sylvestris (sil-VESS-triss)
Meaning: Of the woods, growing wild

Wild Chervil grows from 1 to 4 feet tall. The stems are hollow and ridged, with a fringe of hairs at the stem nodes. Leaves are alternate, shiny green, nearly hairless, and divided into smaller, fernlike leaves. The base of each leaf surrounds the stem. It has small white flowers on compound umbels. Wild Chervil seeds are the most important feature for distinguishing it from other plants in the Apiaceae family that produce white umbrella flowers and fern-like leaves. Wild Chervil produces 2 joined seeds, which have 2 antennae-like styles at the top. They are about ¼ inch long, narrow, smooth, and shiny dark brown when ripe. 

 Why Is it a Noxious Weed?

 It has an aggressive growth habit and quickly creates a monoculture.  It poses a serious threat to native plants and agriculture. 

Where Does it Grow?

It is highly adaptable and will grow in almost any type of soil. Wild Chervil is found on roadsides, forest edges and in waste areas. It grows mainly in poorly-drained soils, often on stream or ditch banks, and wet meadows. 

Facts: Most of Pierce County is highly susceptible to Wild Chervil. 

Control Options:

Tilling is one option for mechanical control of Wild Chervil, but is only marginally effective. It brings the storage roots of the plant out of the ground where they will dry out. But this must take place several times and it will not prevent seed production in the wet months. Research shows that tillage and reseeding of grass species provides a less than 50% control of Wild Chervil. 

  • Cutting, digging, and pulling are not effective. 

  • The most effective control is prevention. Above all else, prevent plants from going to seed. 

  • Combining herbicidal treatment and tillage delivers about 80% control with glyphosate (used in Roundup Pro) to 98% success rate with imazapyr (used in Habitat, Arsenal, and Ortho GroundClear). Spray each plant thoroughly on the stems and leaves, enough to be wet but not dripping. Herbicide application should take place when plants are actively growing and before seeds are produced. Be aware, glyphosate and imazapyr are non-selective and will injure any plants that it comes in contact with, including grass. 

  • There are currently no biological control methods available for Wild Chervil. 

More Information:

 Download our Flyer or visit Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board Here. Photo by Leo Michels


More Pictures:  

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