No, it's not deadly Hemlock! It's Rough Chervil.

Chaerophyllum temulentum

Ok, if you’re not a culinary connoisseur, you may have no idea what chervil is. Here’s a crash course. Chervil is fine French herb that is often used in cooking fish and poultry, a bit like parsley but finer. Here, we’re talking about its close relative: rough chervil (Chaerophyllum temulum). Granted, it’s a bit of an unknown plant for most people; I couldn’t find much on it myself. It is widespread in Europe and apparently invasive in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. So it’s nice to learn how to identify it, especially since it looks quite similar to one of the deadliest plants in the world, Water Hemlock.

Rough Chervil (Chaerophyllum temulentum) is similar to Cow Parsley and Upright Hedge Parsley but is distinguished from the others by its rough and red-colored stem. Though it appears much like Cow Parsley, it is later to flower and rarely takes over the area that it is planted in.

plant drawing

Description: The stem of Rough Chervil is what helps to distinguish it from other similar plants. It is tall, rough, and red in color with purple spots. The leaves number around 2 to 3 on a stem, are toothed and dark green in color, eventually turning purple. The flowers are typically white and reach roughly 2mm long. The flowers bloom from around May to July and are great for attracting a wide range of insects,  beetles and hoverflies in particular. Rough Chervil does really well in a bit of shade but can also make it in the full sun.

If you have any more information about this plant, including pictures, send them over to us. We’d love to share more about it.

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Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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