Cow parsley

DSCF3789I never liked cow parsley when I was young… there was a children’s myth that if you picked it you would wet your bed. It always seemed  to smell nasty, but maybe that was where it grew because apparently the elaves when crushed smell faintly aniseedy… I must go and crush some cow parsley right now!

It’s proper Latin name is anthriscus sylvestris – which partly reflects the fact it likes to grow in shady woodlands, but you can see it everywhere at this time of year, along verges, on wasteland and hedgerows. It has a hollow-stem which according  to some sources could be used as a blow-pipe by children ‘in the olden days’.

Cow parsley is a member of the carrot family, and now I think about it I can see that its ferny leaves show it to be a cousin of the carrots trying to grow in our garden. It has a rather lovely other name, Queen Anne’s lace, because of the umbrellas of lacy white flowers.


  1. seascapesaus

    What a contrast between those two names! That is a surprise (although I had never heard of cow parsley). I trust Queen Anne had no bovine characteristics; there isn’t much that’s lacy about a cow. Lovely to read this snippet Lois.


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