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Bur Chervil – Wild Chervil

Posted by cahnrs.webteam | November 13, 2013

Bur chervil, bur beakchervil (Anthriscus caucalis M. Bieb.) is an annual weed introduced from Europe.

The plants have a small taproot and reproduce only by seed. The stems of the plants are hollow and branched. The plants are often purplish at the base. The leaves are alternately arranged, finely divided (fern-like), hairy, and form triangular shapes. Small white flowers with 5 petals are borne in compound umbels (umbrella-like clusters). Each of the small flowers bears 2 seeds which are covered with velcro-like bristles, forming burs that attach to equipment, clothing, and fur.  The seeds are easily disseminated by attachment to small rodents, which allows them to become established beneath low growing dense vegetation, making all forms of control extremely difficult.

Bur chervil is highly adaptable and can be found along roadsides and in pastures, rangeland, open woods, cities, waste places, and disturbed areas. It is especially problematic because of the diversity of habitats that it can occupy. It forms monocultures in deep moist shady soils, but can also compete effectively with other weeds such as yellow starthistle in arid rocky sites with full sun.

Control Methods

Because of its aggressive growth habit, an integrated approach using a combination of control methods will likely be necessary for successful control.

Cultural Control: Whichever control methods are selected, reseeding with beneficial species is important to provide competition and make the area less prone to re-infestation. Also, beware that bur chervil seeds can be included in wildflower seed mixes so avoid using any questionable mixes.

Physical/Mechanical Control: Small populations of bur chervil can be removed by hand-pulling or hoeing when the soil is moist, If mowing is a desired control method (generally not recommended for bur chervil), it must occur before seed set and be repeated often so that seed production is prevented. Tillage can be used during the dry months (but before seed set); for optimal effectiveness, tillage may be combined with herbicide treatments.

Chemical Control: Several readily available herbicides have been used to control bur chervil. Among these are clopyralid, glyphosate, chlorsulfuron + metsulfuron. Other herbicides can be used for control but you must read the label to see if the herbicide is labeled for bur chervil control.

More information can be found in the

PNW Weed Management Handbook

Use pesticides with care. Apply them only to plants, animals, or sites listed on the label. When mixing and applying pesticides, follow all label precautions to protect yourself and others around you. It is a violation of the law to disregard label directions. Store pesticides in their original containers and keep them out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock.

Biological Control: There are no biological control agents available, although grazing can be incorporated into a management plan.

Bur chervil Fact Sheet

Photos by: Richard R. Old, Ph.D. , XID Services,