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Garden chervil
Illustration Anthriscus cerefolium0.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Anthriscus
A. cerefolium
Binomial name
Anthriscus cerefolium
  • Anthriscus chaerophyllus St.-Lag.
  • Anthriscus longirostris Bertol.
  • Anthriscus sativa Besser
  • Anthriscus trachysperma Rchb. ex Nyman
  • Cerefolium sativum Besser
  • Cerefolium sylvestre Besser
  • Cerefolium trichospermum Besser
  • Chaerefolium cerefolium (L.) Schinz
  • Chaerefolium trichospermum (Schinz & Thell.) Stankov
  • Chaerophyllum cerefolium (L.) Crantz
  • Chaerophyllum nemorosum Lag. ex DC.
  • Chaerophyllum sativum Lam.
  • Myrrhodes cerefolium (L.) Kuntze
  • Scandix cerefolium L.
  • Selinum cerefolium (L.) E.H.L.Krause

Chervil (/ˈɜːrˌvɪl/; Anthriscus cerefolium), sometimes called French parsley or garden chervil (to distinguish it from similar plants also called chervil), is a delicate annual herb related to parsley. It is commonly used to season mild-flavoured dishes and is a constituent of the French herb mixture fines herbes.


The name chervil is from Anglo-Norman, from Latin chaerephylla or choerephyllum, ultimately from Ancient Greek χαιρέφυλλον (chairephyllon), meaning "leaves of joy".[3][4]


Fresh chervil

A member of the Apiaceae, chervil is native to the Caucasus but was spread by the Romans through most of Europe, where it is now naturalised.[5] It is also grown frequently in the United States, where it sometimes escapes cultivation. Such escape can be recognized, however, as garden chervil is distinguished from all other Anthriscus species growing in North America (i.e., A. caucalis and A. sylvestris) by its having lanceolate-linear bracteoles and a fruit with a relatively long beak.[citation needed]

The plants grow to 40–70 cm (16–28 in), with tripinnate leaves that may be curly. The small white flowers form small umbels, 2.5–5 cm (1–2 in) across. The fruit is about 1 cm long, oblong-ovoid with a slender, ridged beak.[5]

Uses and impact[edit]

Culinary arts[edit]

Chervil is used, particularly in France, to season poultry, seafood, young spring vegetables (such as carrots), soups, and sauces. More delicate than parsley, it has a faint taste of liquorice or aniseed.[6]

Chervil is one of the four traditional French fines herbes, along with tarragon, chives, and parsley, which are essential to French cooking.[7] Unlike the more pungent, robust herbs such as thyme and rosemary, which can take prolonged cooking, the fines herbes are added at the last minute, to salads, omelettes, and soups.[8][citation needed]


According to some, slugs are attracted to chervil and the plant is sometimes used to bait them.[9]


Seed of chervil

Chervil has had various uses in folk medicine. It was claimed to be useful as a digestive aid, for lowering high blood pressure, and, infused with vinegar, for curing hiccups.[10] Besides its digestive properties, it is used as a mild stimulant.[6]

Chervil has also been implicated in "strimmer dermatitis", another name for phytophotodermatitis, due to spray from weed trimmers and similar forms of contact. Other plants in the family Apiaceae can have similar effects.[11]


Transplanting chervil can be difficult, due to the long taproot.[10] It prefers a cool and moist location; otherwise, it rapidly goes to seed (also known as bolting).[10] It is usually grown as a cool-season crop, like lettuce, and should be planted in early spring and late fall or in a winter greenhouse. Regular harvesting of leaves also helps to prevent bolting.[10] If plants bolt despite precautions, the plant can be periodically re-sown throughout the growing season, thus producing fresh plants as older plants bolt and go out of production.[citation needed]

Chervil grows to a height of 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm), and a width of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm).[10]


  1. ^ Gen. Pl. Umbell.: 41 (1814)
  2. ^ "Anthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm". Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  3. ^ Donnegan, James (3 August 2018). "O new greek and english lexicon". Cowie.
  4. ^ "Chervil, One of the Best & Least Appreciated Herbs". The Art of Eating. 1 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b Vaughan, J.G.; Geissler, C.A. (1997). The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ a b Gualtiero Simonetti (1990). Stanley Schuler (ed.). Simon & Schuster's Guide to Herbs and Spices. Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN 978-0-671-73489-3.
  7. ^ Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol. I p 18.
  8. ^ Peter, K. V. (Ed.). (2012). Handbook of herbs and spices (2nd ed., Vol. 2). Woodhead Publishing.
  9. ^ Fern Marshall Bradley; Barbara W. Ellis; Deborah L. Martin (2 February 2010). "Chervil is irresistible to slugs". The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease. p. 363. ISBN 9781605291796.
  10. ^ a b c d e McGee, Rose Marie Nichols; Stuckey, Maggie (2002). The Bountiful Container. Workman Publishing.
  11. ^ McGovern, Thomas W; Barkley, Theodore M (1998). "Botanical Dermatology". The Electronic Textbook of Dermatology. Internet Dermatology Society. 37 (5). Section Phytophotodermatitis. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.1998.00385.x. PMID 9620476. S2CID 221810453. Retrieved 23 October 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Howard, Michael (1987). Traditional Folk Remedies. Century. p. 118.
  • Philosoph-Hadas, S.; Jacob, D.; Meir, S.; Aharoni, N. (June 1993). "Mode of action of CO2 in delaying senescence of chervil leaves". Acta Horticulturae (343): 117–122. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.1993.343.27.
  • El Gendy, A.G.; El Gohary, A.E.; Omer, E.A.; Hendawy, S.F.; Hussein, M.S.; Petrova, V.; Stancheva, I. (July 2015). "Effect of nitrogen and potassium fertilizer on herbage and oil yield of chervil plant (Anthriscus cerefolium L.)". Industrial Crops and Products. 69: 167–174. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2015.02.023.
  • Liopa-Tsakalidi, A.; Barouchas, P. E. (2011). "Salinity, chitin and GA3 effects on seed germination of chervil ('Anthriscus cerefolium')". Australian Journal of Crop Science. 5 (8): 973.
  • Simándi, B.; Oszagyán, M.; Lemberkovics, É.; Petri, G.; Kéry, Á.; Fejes, Sz. (May 1996). "Comparison of the Volatile Composition of Chervil Oil Obtained by Hydrodistillation and Supercritical Fluid Extraction". Journal of Essential Oil Research. 8 (3): 305–306. doi:10.1080/10412905.1996.9700620.