Bur Chervil

Bur Chervil

Anthriscus caucalis
Photo credit: Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis, Bugwood.org

Status in Squamish:


Status in Whistler:


Status in Pemberton:

Vectors of Spread:
  • Bur Parsley
  • Bur-chervil
  • Anthriscus neglecta var. scandix
  • Anthriscus scandicina

Note that ‘bur’ is also spelled ‘burr’.

ID Characteristics

General: Bur Chervil is considered an annual or biennial, but can persist as a short-lived perennial by forming sprouts at the sides of the taproots.

Flowers: The small white flowers are aromatic and have 5 petals arranged in an umbrella shape.

Stem: Mature plants are typically under 1 m tall, though they occasionally reach up to 2 m. The stems are hollow and furrowed and bare a fringe of hairs at the stem nodes.

Leaves: The leaves are alternate and finely divided with a lacy, fern-like appearance. They are generally hairy when the plant is young, and the base of the leaves clasp at the stem.

Fruit: Each flower produces 2 bur-like seeds. The narrow seeds are 6 – 7 mm long with a pronounced point (‘beak’). Unripe seeds are green, and mature seeds are brown and shiny. The seeds are covered with minute hooked bristles.

Roots: Thick taproot that spreads rapidly, reaching up to 2 m in length.

Similar Species


Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org


Wild Chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris) is less delicate than Bur Chervil, and the bristles on the seeds lack obvious hooks.


Please report any sighting of Bur Chervil by clicking here.

Habitat and Origin

Bur Chervil is native to Europe and was introduced to North America through wildflower seed packets.

Bur Chervil prefers moist, open ground and can be found near stream banks and in meadows. It also thrives in disturbed areas such as ditches, roadsides, farmyards and waste areas.

Current Distribution

Propagation & Vectors of Spread

Bur Chervil reproduces both by seed and vegetatively. It is considered an annual or biennial, but can persist as a short-lived perennial by forming sprouts at the sides of the taproots. Usually, it forms a rosette in the first year and produces seeds in the second year. Vegetative propagation takes place from root buds at the top of the root.

Bur Chervil spreads via its ‘sticky’ seeds. When an animal brush up against the plant, its bur-like seeds stick to the animal and get carried to new areas. The seeds can also be spread by water or human activity, like mowing after seed-set. Bur Chervil is also sold in some wildflower seed mixes and is grown by gardeners.

Ecological, Economic, & Health Impacts


  • Out-competes native vegetation.
  • Decreases natural biodiversity.
  • Acts as a natural host for a viral disease that infects other plants in the Apiaceae family, including carrots, parsnips, and celery.


  • Provides poor quality forage for grazing animals.
  • Forms dense monocultures, displacing more favorable plants.
What Can I Do?

Bur Chervil is NOT currently found throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor, so the best approach to controlling its spread is by PREVENTION.


Learn to identify Bur Chervil: use the images presented in this profile page to learn how to identify Bur Chervil.

What to do if you spot it: You can report any Bur Chervil sighting by clicking here.



  • Regularly monitor properties for weed infestations.
  • Ensure soil and gravel are uncontaminated before transport.
  • Check wildflower mixes to ensure that they do not contain Bur Chervil.
  • If found in floral arrangements, ensure that plants are disposed of in a garbage bag to prevent seeds from spreading.
  • Ensure plants (particularly flowering heads or root fragments) are bagged or covered to prevent spread during transport to designated disposal sites (e.g., landfill).



  • Unload, park or store equipment or vehicles in infested areas; instead, remove plant material from any equipment, vehicles, or clothing used in such areas and wash equipment and vehicles at designated cleaning sites before leaving infested areas.
  • Plant Bur Chervil in a garden, no matter how well-contained its enclosure may seem.
  • Move soil that has been contaminated with Bur Chervil.
  • DO NOT compost Bur Chervil!




  • Hand-pull rosettes and young plants when the soil is moist, making every effort to remove the entire root system. At a minimum, mature plants must be cut below the root crown.
  • Tillage can also be effective if performed during the dry months, as it exposes the roots so they dry and die off.
  • It is paramount for mechanical treatment to take place before seed-set, to prevent the formation of a seed bank.
  • All plant parts must be bagged and deeply buried at a landfill.


  • Herbicides that have proven effective for Bur Chervil control include clopyralid, glyphosate, chlorsulfuron, metsulfuron, aminopyralid, dicamba and imazapyr.
  • However, chemical control is often precluded in the wet habitats that Bur Chervil prefers.
  • We recommend that any herbicide application is carried out by a person holding a valid BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate. Before selecting and applying herbicides, you must review and follow herbicide labels and application rates; municipal, regional, provincial and federal laws and regulations; species-specific treatment recommendations, and site-specific goals and objectives.


There are no known biological control agents available for this plant.