Cow Parsley

Anthriscus sylvestris

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Cow Parsley

About

Cow Parsley is a hollow-stemmed, tall plant that grows rapidly in the summer before dying back. It likes shady habitats in particular, and can be found decorating woodland edges, roadside verges and hedgerows with masses of frothy, white flowers. These flower umbels (umbrella-like clusters) appear from May until June.

How to identify

The large, flat umbrellas of small white flowers, and large, fern-like leaves are familiar characteristics of Cow Parsley. When crushed between the fingers, the leaves produce a strong, almost aniseed-like scent. One of several common members of the carrot family, this is the most abundant, and the earliest-flowering of the roadside umbellifers, collectively referred to as 'Queen Anne's Lace"

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • May
  • June

How can people help

Our native wildflowers, such as Cow Parsley, provide important links in the food chain for many other animals, as well as areas for shelter and material for nesting. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.

Species information

Common name
Cow Parsley
Latin name
Anthriscus sylvestris
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 1m
Conservation status
Common.