General: Burr 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 0.3 – 2 m tall. 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 joined seeds. The narrow seeds are 6 – 7 mm long with a pronounced point. 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.
Habitat and Origin
Burr Chervil is native to Europe and was introduced to North America through wildflower seed packets.
Burr 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, and farmyards.
Propagation & Vectors of Spread
Burr Chervil reproduces both by seed and vegetatively. It usually 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.
Burr Chervil spreads via its ‘sticky’ seeds. When animals brush up against the plant, its bur-like seeds stick to the animals and get carried to new areas. The seeds can also be spread by water or human activity, like mowing after seed-set. Burr 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?
Burr 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 Burr Chervil.
What to do if you spot it: You can report any Burr 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 Burr Chervil.
- Ensure that plants are disposed of in a garbage bag if found in floral arrangements to prevent seeds from spreading.
- 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 Burr Chervil in a garden, no matter how well-contained its enclosure may seem.
- Move soil that has been contaminated with Burr Chervil.
- Compost Burr Chervil!
- Rosettes and young plants can be hand-pulled when the soil is moist; mature plants must be cut below the root crown to prevent resprouting in the following year.
- 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.
- Several readily available herbicides have been used to control Burr Chervil.
- Among these are clopyralid, glyphosate, chlorsulfuron, and metsulfuron.
- However, chemical control is often precluded in the wet habitats that Burr 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.
- Coastal Invasive Species Council, Bur Chervil, https://www.coastalisc.com/bur-chervil/
- Government of BC, Wild Chervil, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/plants-animals-and-ecosystems/invasive-species/alerts/wild_chervil.pdf?bcgovtm=buffer
- Invasive Species Council of BC, Wild Chervil, https://bcinvasives.ca/invasives/wild-chervil/
- King County Noxious Weed Control Program, Wild Chervil, https://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/wild-chervil-control.pdf
- Washington State Noxious Weed Board, Wild Chervil, https://www.nwcb.wa.gov/images/weeds/Wild-Chervil-Control_Whatcom.pdf
- Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States, Anthriscus caucalis, https://wric.ucdavis.edu/information/crop/natural%20areas/wr_A/Anthriscus_caucalis-sylvestris.pdf
- Washington University, Bull Chervil/Wild Chervil, https://extension.wsu.edu/whitman/2013/11/bur-chervil-wild-chervil/