Weed Seed: Anthriscus sylvestris (Cow parsley)

Family

Apiaceae

Common Name

Cow parsley

Regulation

Primary Noxious, Class 2 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.

Distribution

Canadian: Occurs in BC, ON, QC, NB, NL, NS (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1).

Worldwide: Native to northern Africa, Europe and Asia and introduced to southern Africa, North America and Chile (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2).

Duration of life cycle

Biennial or short-lived perennial

Seed or fruit type

Schizocarp, divided into 2 mericarps

Identification features

Size

  • Mericarp length: 6.0 - 7.0 mm
  • Mericarp width: 1.2 - 1.6 mm

Shape

  • Mericarp is elongate, tapering to a remnant floral style at the top

Surface Texture

  • Mericarp is shiny, smooth

Colour

  • Mericarp is medium brown

Other Features

  • Furrow along ventral side of mericarp.
  • Teardrop-shaped depression at base of mericarp.

Habitat and Crop Association

Pastures, damp meadows, old fields, open forests, stream banks, ditches, roadsides and other disturbed areas (Darbyshire et al. 1999Footnote 3, Darbyshire 2003Footnote 4). Weed of perennial forage crops and pastures in North America (Darbyshire et al. 1999Footnote 3).

General Information

Cow parsley produces 800 to 10,000 seeds per plant, which are often dispersed by agricultural equipment (Rew et al. 1996Footnote 5) and traffic corridors (Magnússon 2006Footnote 6). This species prefers disturbed habitats and forest edges with moist or mesic soils, rich with organic matter (Darbyshire et al. 1999Footnote 3).

Similar species

Garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

  • Garden chervil is a similar elongated shape, size, brown colour and floral style to cow parsley.
  • Garden chervil has a longer floral style (2.0 - 4.0 mm), a bumpy surface texture and is thinner (1.0 mm) compared to cow parsley.

Photos

Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarps
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarps
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarp, interior
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarp
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarp, exterior
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarp
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarp
Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) mericarp

Similar species

Similar species: Garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) mericarps
Similar species: Garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) mericarp, exterior
Similar species: Garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) mericarp
Similar species: Garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) mericarp
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