Rough Chervil - Chaerophyllum temulum


Medium tall rather bristly plant. Stem erect, purple or purple spotted. Leaves 2 or 3 pinnate, dark green, but eventually turning purple, leaflets oval, toothed. Flowers white, 2 mm in compound umbels, which are nodding in bud. With hairy bracteoles, but without bracts.

Similar Species

Similar to many other medium-sized white flowered umbellifers with ferny divided leaves, and found in the same habitats as Cow Parsley, Upright Hedge Parsley and Greater Burnet Saxifrage.  To separate them, details of stems, fruits and bracts/bracteoles are needed.   

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Stems solid; fruits ridged (not spiny, bristly or warty) and elongated (c.2.5 times longer than wide).  Bracteoles and sometimes bracts present.

Recording advice

A general photo of the plant in its habitat, plus close up of umbel and fruit


Rough grassland and roadside verges, preferring shady places.

When to see it

May to July.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly common in England and Wales, less so in Scotland.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 366 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is listed as Native, occasional, but avoiding the more acid soils.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map