Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wild Chervil - a Nasty Plant

Wild Chervil is one of our worst invasive plants, and the heart of its invasion seems to be Grey County. It blooms in late May or June, but it's very easy to identify at this time of year as well.

The dried flower heads and dark linear seeds, as in the picture above, are quite distinctive. The dried stalks, about 3 feet tall, are what is left of the plants from earlier this summer. But wild chervil is a biennial, so it is already growing its basil leaves for next year, and they form big patches of bright green, about a foot deep, as in the last picture below.

The leaves are very lacy, cut into fern-like patterns, and quite bright green. If you watch for them at this time of year, you will know where to watch out for the flowers in June. There is no easy method of control, as it grows a very deep tap root, so the recommended approach until more research is done is to cut them before they flower or go to seed, to at least prevent the seeds from spreading.

A patch of wild chervil in a county forest on the 7th line.

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