Cow Parsley

March 8th, 2012

Cow Parsley         Anthriscus sylvestris                                                 Peirsil bhó

This native species is an erect perennial that often grows to more than 1.5m in height.  Cow Parsley grows in sunny to semi-shaded locations in meadows and at the edges of roadways, hedgerows and woodland.

It is particularly fast-growing and seems to suddenly appear as a mass of white flowered plants on roadsides in early-May and June.

The stem is hollow, hairy and grooved and the leaves are finely divided (tripinnate), 15-30cm long and triangular in outline.  It can produce large quantities of seed in a single growing season.

A beautiful green dye can be obtained from the leaves and stem but it is not very permanent.


It has some medicinal uses but this plant is suspected of being poisonous to mammals. It also looks very similar to some very poisonous species so great care must be taken when identifying it.



Specimens grow beside the avenue, in the Builder’s Paddock, and in many of the hedgerows around the golf course.


Leave a Reply