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Report an Invasive Species

Bur Chervil

Bur Chervil

Bur Chervil

(Anthriscus caucalis )

Priority: -  Control

Tags: Terrestrial

Identification and Reproduction


  • Bur chervil is a biennial or short-lived perennial plant that typically is under 1 m tall but occasionally reaches 2 m tall.
  • Stems are hollow, branching with maturity and hairy near the base. 
  • This plant has triangular fern-like leaves that are alternating along the stem.


  • Bur chervil flowers are at the leaf axils and arranged in umbel clusters. Individual flowers are small and have 5 notched petals. 
  • Noted by its name, seeds are bur-like bristles and allow for the seeds to easily cling onto materials, animals and people for transportation. Seeds taper to a distinct point or "beak". 

  • Taproots are thick and fibrous and can extend up to 2 m in depth. 


Plants only produce by seed. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • Bur chervil has adapted to poor growing conditions; sites that are shaded, poor in nutrients and sandy soils. 
  • This invader is typically growing in disturbed sites, ditches or waste areas. 
  • It is currently found in multiple parts of Vancouver Island; Comox, Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo. 



  • Since it invades pastures and hayfields it reduces the forage opportunities for livestock.
  • Similarly to wild chervil, bur chervil can be a host for a virus that attacks crop species in the same family, such as carrot, celery and parsnip. 


  • Bur chervil out-competes native vegetation and decreases the native biodiversity. 
  • It forms dense stands in moist meadow and riparian areas. 


Prevention is a high priority for this plant. 

  • When leaving an infested site make sure bur seeds are not attached to clothes, shoes, equipment, pets and vehicles. 
  • Be cautious when purchasing wildflower seed mixes, especially if they are not locally produced. These can contain seeds of bur chervil and other invasive species.

Mechanical/Manual Control: 

  • Hand-pulling or digging can be effective on small populations. It is recommended to remove plants when the soil is moist to remove the entire root system. 
  • Tillage can also be used as a control method during the dry months. This helps expose the roots so they dry and die off. 


E-flora BC is a good resource to help identify bur chervil. 

For more information check out the Washingon State University's page on Bur Chervil. Note this is a US resource and Canadian guidelines and regulations differ. Be sure to read labels prior to application. 

Header photo (Hockenheim).