Synonyms of Chaerophyllum procumbens (8) (Updated on 3-25-21 from Plants of the World Online): Chaerophyllum articulatum Bosc ex DC., Chaerophyllum bifidum Willd. ex DC., Chaerophyllum boscii Steud., Chaerophyllum procumbens var. boscii DC., Chaerophyllum procumbens var. tainturieri J.M.Coult. & Rose, Myrrhis bifida Spreng., Myrrhis procumbens (L.) Spreng., Scandix procumbens L.
Chaerophyllum procumbens (L.) Crantz is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Spreading Chervil. It was named and described as such by Heinrich Johann Nepomuk von Crantz in Classis Umbelliferarum Emendata.. in 1767. It was first named Scandix procumbens by Carl von Linnaeus in 1753.
Chaerophyllum procumbens var. shortii Torr. & A.Gray is an accepted infraspecific name.
The genus, Chaerophyllum L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online lists 70 species in the genus (as of 3-25-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Apiaceae with a total of 441 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.
The distribution map for Chaerophyllum procumbens above is from the USDA Plants Database. The map on Plants of the World Online doesn’t show all the states but soon will. The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND FOR A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
Just about any wooded area on the farm has an ample supply of this wildflower. The Chaerophyllum procumbens, also known as Spreading Wild Chervil, is an annual that can either come up in the spring or winter depending on your climate and temperature. It also shares the common name, Wild Chervil, with its cousin Chaerophyllum tainturieri. The two species are virtually indistinguishable from one another until they produce fruit and seeds (see last photo).
Several links at the bottom of the page give more and elaborate botanical descriptions.
There are several other members in the family that have very similar leaves and this species is not the chervil used in cooking. I believe that is Anthriscus cerefolium commonly known as Garden Chervil or French Parsley. They look very similar but are not native to the U.S. and not found in Missouri in the wild. There are reports of a couple Anthriscus species naturalizing in some states. They can be distinguished from the Spreading Chervil because they lack bractlets under the umbels.
The upper portions of the stems terminate with compound umbels with groups of umbellets. Each umbellet consists of 2-7 flowers with five white petals and 5 stamens. Flowering occurs from the spring into early summer.
The leaves grow in an alternate fashion and grow to 4″ long x 2″ wide or thereabouts. Leaves are smooth to slightly hairy (glabrous to slightly pubescent). Leaves are said to be double-pinnate, pinnately divided, and triangular-lanceolate.
Pinnatifid leaflets shallowly to deeply divided. GEEZ! Anyway, they are kind of soft and ferny looking. You can see the fuzz on the leaves in the above close-up.
Plants are erect to somewhat sprawly. Stems are light green or purplish-green and are multi-branching. Hairs grow from the stems in lines where branching occurs. Lower leaves have long petioles (stems) while the upper leaves have shorter petioles and are nearly sessile (no petioles). There is supposedly a sheath that wraps around the base of the petiole.
I was able to get a photo of the fruit which revealed this species is definitely Chaerophyllum procumbens. The fruit is straight and linear while a similar species, C. tainturieri, are flared toward the tip.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
NEW YORK NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM
KANSAS NATIVE PLANTS
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂