Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is a hollow-stemmed, tall plant that grows rapidly in the summer up to one metre in height, 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.


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"

Information taken from The Wildlife Trusts. See also Cow Parsely: The Countryside Killer.

Photographs taken on 24 May 2014 in Ballylagan organic farm in Straid, County Antrim.

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Last updated Friday June 20, 2014