Torilis arvensis/Torilis japonica (Hedge Parsley)-Which One Do You Have?

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 8-20-19, #615-22.

Common Hedge Parsley, Spreading Hedge Parsley, Field Hedge Parsley, Tall Sock-Destroyer

Torilis arvensis

TOR-il-iss  ar-VEN-sis


Japanese Hedge Parsley, Upright Hedge Parsley, Erect Hedge Parsley

Torilis japonica

TOR-il-iss  juh-PON-ih-kuh

Synonyms of Torilis arvensis (2) (Updated on 11-11-22 from Plants of the World Online): Anthriscus arvensis (Huds.) Koso-Pol., Caucalis arvensis Huds.
Synonyms of Torilis arvensis subsp. arvensis (27) (Updated on 11-11-22 from Plants of the World Online):  Caucalis aglochis (Simonk.) M.Hiroe (1979), Caucalis angustifolia Forssk. (1775), Caucalis aspersa Savi (1798), Caucalis divaricata F.Heller (1810), Caucalis helvetica Jacq. (1777), Caucalis infesta (L.) Curtis (1786), Caucalis infesta var. elatior Gaudin (1828) (not validly publ.), Caucalis infesta var. minus Gaudin (1828), Caucalis segetalis Steud. (1840), Caucalis segetum Thuill. (1799), Daucus infestus (L.) E.H.L.Krause (1904), Lappularia infesta Pomel (1874), Lappularia neglecta Pomel (1874), Ozotrix helvetica (Jacq.) Raf. (1840), Scandix infesta L. (1767), Tordylium segetum Schult. (1820), Torilis aglochis Simonk. (1890), Torilis arvensis var. anthriscoides (DC.) Link ex Schinz & R.Keller (1914), Torilis arvensis var. divaricata (Moench) Täckh. (1956), Torilis arvensis subsp. divaricata (Moench) Thell. (1926), Torilis arvensis var. elatior Thell. (1926), Torilis chlorocarpa Spreng. (1824), Torilis divaricata Moench (1802), Torilis friedrichsthalii Ces. (1838), Torilis helvetica (Jacq.) C.C.Gmel. (1805), Torilis helvetica var. anthriscoides DC. (1830), Torilis infesta (L.) Clairv. (1811)
Synonyms of Torilis japonica (25) (Updated on 11-11-22 from Plants of the World Online): Anthriscus vulgaris Bernh. (1800), Caucalis anthriscus (L.) Huds. (1762), Caucalis aspera Lam. (1779), Caucalis coniifolia Wall. ex DC. (1830), Caucalis elata D.Don (1825), Caucalis japonica Houtt. (1777), Caucalis praetermissa (Hance) Franch. (1879), Caucalis scandicina Roth (1788)(nom. illeg.), Chaerophyllum hispidum Thunb. ex Miq. (1867), Daucus anthriscus (L.) Baill. (1879), Selinum anthriscus (L.) E.H.L.Krause (1904), Selinum torilis E.H.L.Krause (1904), Tordylium anthriscus L. (1753), Tordylium asperum Gilib. (1782)(opus utique oppr.), Tordylium verecundum Salisb. (1796), Torilis anthrisca St.-Lag. (1880), Torilis anthriscus (L.) C.C.Gmel. (1805)(nom. illeg.), Torilis anthriscus var. japonica (Houtt.) H.Boissieu (1903), Torilis convexa Dulac (1867), Torilis elata Spreng. (1827), Torilis persica Boiss. & Buhse (1860), Torilis praetermissa Hance (1866), Torilis rubella Moench (1794), Torilis rubella f. gracilis C.G.Westerl. (1904), Torilis stricta Wibel in Prim. Fl. Werth.: 192 (1799)

Torilis arvensis (Huds.) Link is the accepted scientific name for the Common Hedge Parsley. It was named and described as such by Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link in Enumeratio Plantarum Horti Regii Berolinensis Altera in 1821. It was first named and described as Caucalis arvensis by William Hudson in Flora Anglica in 1762.

Accepted Infraspecific Names of Torilis arvensis (3) (Updated on 12-21-21 from POWO): *Torilis arvensis subsp. arvensis (autonym),Torilis arvensis subsp. recta Jury, Torilis arvensis subsp. turcomanica Geld. *When infraspecific taxon are named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically generated whose description is closest to the (original) species. All have their own list of synonyms… Torilis arvensis subsp. arvensis is the only one found in North America.

Torilis japonica (Houtt.) DC. is the accepted scientific name for the species commonly known as Erect, Upright, or Japanese Hedge Parsley. It was named and described as such by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1830. It was first named Caucalis japonica by Martinus Houttuyn in 1777.

The genus, Torilis Adans., Was named and described as such by Michel Adanson in Familles des Plantes in 1763.

As you can see by the list of synonyms, both species have been in out of many genera and have been given many species names. They also have many common names, but the ones I use most I can’t publish. I am sure you have similar names. 🙂

As of 11-11-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 15 species in the Torilis genus. It is a member of the plant family Apiaceae with 444 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Torilis arvensis from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on November 11, 2022 (updated).

The distribution map above for Torilis arvensis is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green show where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database for North America (above Mexico) is similar. 

Distribution map of Torilis japonica from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on July 14, 2021.

The above distribution map above for Torilis japonica is from the Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native, purple where it has been introduced, and gold where it is unlikely… The map on the USDA Plants Database for North America (above Mexico) is similar.

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations of Torilis arvensis. Click HERE to see observations of Torilis japonica. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist and continually updated as members post new observations. I upload all my observations on iNaturalist. It is VERY addictive!


Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 8-20-19, #615-23.

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley) is one of those species you love to hate. I remember as far back as when I was a kid coming inside from playing and having those darn stick tights stuck to my socks. My mother would have to remove them from my socks before washing the clothes until she decided to teach me a lesson. One day, she didn’t remove them and when I went to put on my socks, the stick tights were still on them. From then on, I tried to avoid them. 

Even now, I despise wildflower hunting and walking through a patch of Hedge Parsley. Even if I need photos of a plant behind them, I try to find a way around them… 

Torilis arvensis is often confused with Torilis japonica even by the experts. Out-of-date websites normally list one or the other as an accepted name with the other as a synonym.

Torilis arvensis and Torilis japonica are both native to Eurasia and have found their way to other countries. Depending on the climate, they are winter or spring annuals. They can grow in dry or damp soil in just about any type of soil. Information online says they are found in heavy soil containing gravel or clay. Here on the farm, they grow in very good quality loamy soil. Information online further states they have been found in waste ground, disturbed sites, thickets, roadsides, railroads, woodland borders, weedy meadows, and so on. Again, here on the farm and where I have seen them, they are generally found in full sun along fence rows, around foundations, in the garden, and flower beds, in corners or fences… Anywhere I walk and try to avoid them. When information says they grow in “disturbed areas,” it is referring mainly to areas that experience seasonal changes or where the environment has been degraded.

They are very hard to tell apart and I believe for a while they have been synonyms of each other. The reason I was saying the plants on the farm were Torilis arvensis is that they were first discovered in Missouri (officially) in 1909 in Jasper County and are now found in every county. The first official specimen of Torilis japonica wasn’t collected in Missouri until 1988… Well, I was getting these darn seeds on my socks in the 1960’s so I suppose they had to be Torilis arvensis. 🙂 Who knows? Maybe it was because no one knew the difference between the two. One thing for sure is they are a pain in the neck…

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 5-11-20, #698-29.

One of my favorite wildflower sites, Missouri Plants, has a page for Torilis japonica and says Torilis arvensis is a synonym. It is a great website, but a little out-of-date as far as some accepted names are concerned (only a few). Plants of the World Online and most other databases list both species as accepted. Illinois Wildflowers states Torilis japonica “has about 8 linear bracts at the base of each compound umbel, and the bristles of its seeds have hooked tips.”

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 5-11-20, #698-30.

Plants grow to around 36” tall from a thick taproot with single or multiple stems. The multiple stems and branches are round with fine, short, white hairs. Even after winter, the dead stems are still standing with many seeds still intact.

The leaves grow in an alternate pattern along the stems and are kind of ferny-looking. They can be bipinnately or pinnately divided, are triangular in outline, and are up to 6” long and 4” across. The leaves have long, slender petioles (leaf stems). The upper leaf surface is covered with short white hairs. To be honest, the plants are nice looking, but what follows is a nightmare. 

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 6-26-20, #714-36.

The foliage of young Torilis arvensis and T. japonica can be mistaken for a few similar-looking species, but around here, they grow just about everywhere so I am pretty used to it. They have nice-looking foliage, but once they start to flower they get yanked up. Even so, there are plenty that escape being pulled up to go to seed…

The above photo was taken of plants in the bed along the south of the house on June 26 in 2020.

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 9-20-20, #744-32.

Late in the season, they can make wildflower hunting difficult.

Torilis arvensis (Common Hedge Parsley, ETC.) on 9-20-20, #744-33.

But they aren’t the only plants I dread… Let me see, there is also the Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Beggarticks), Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles (with similar leaves), Bidens connata (Purple-Stem Beggarticks), Bidens tripartita (Three-Parted Beggarticks), all with the needle-like seeds. Then there is the dreaded Desmodium paniculatum and/or D. perplexum (Tickseed Trefoil, ETC)… I can easily avoid the Hedge Parsley if I choose to, but the Desmodium grows right out in the pasture where I am walking. They are easy to avoid until most of the seeds have turned brown and fallen off when they are harder to see. There are several other species that have seeds that are easily brushed off, or just fall off on their own.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-8-21, #809-48.

Clusters of compound umbels with small white flowers can be found at the ends of stems (terminal) as well as opposite of leaves on the stems (axillary). 

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-8-21, #809-49.

I don’t think I have to go into a lot of detail about the flowers for you to recognize either one of these two species. The flowers are very small and have 5 white petals, 5 stamens, 2 styles with an expanded stylopodium, and a globose stigma.

WELL… I had uploaded photos of Torilis arvensis on iNaturalist, and another member asked if I was sure they weren’t Torilis japonica? I never gave much thought to it but as time went by I became curious. What if the Hedge Parsley here were actually Torilis japonica? That thought festered until I just had to know… SOOOO, on July 11 (in 2021) I took my magnifying glass to get a closer look…

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-16.

SO, here I am on July 11 to check for hooked tips with a magnifying glass. The above photo is from old seeds, likely leftover from 2020. I couldn’t really tell.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-17.

The above cluster was suspicious… There are A LOT of colonies to experiment on.

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-18.

Hmmm… HOLY CRAP! There are hooked tips!!!

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-19.

I checked the fruit on several colonies, and I was shocked to see their fruit all had hooked tips. Now, isn’t that weird?

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-11-21, #810-20.

Well, one thing is for sure, you sure can’t tell by the flowers or leaves…

Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley) on 7-12-21, #811-2.

I took A LOT of photos trying to get a good one of the hooked tips. They are really hard to get close-ups of…

I will likely continue taking photos of this species just for the heck of it. I always like taking more photos to replace the older ones. There is always room for improvement and we are all a work in progress.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and in other areas. The 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 250 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 I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.

(GENUS/T. arvensis/T. japonica)
(GENUS/T. arvensis/T. japonica)

TROPICOS (GENUS/T. arvensis/T. japonica)
(GENUS/T. arvensis/T. japonica)

(GENUS/T. arvensis)/T. japonica)

(T. arvensis/T. japonica)

DAVE’S GARDEN (T. arvensis)
iNATURALIST (T. arvensis/T. japonica)
WILDFLOWER SEARCH (T. arvensis/T. japonica)
(T. arvensis/T. japonica)
OREGON FLORA (T. arvensis/T. japonica)
(T. arvensis/(T. japonica)
GO BOTANY (T. japonica)
FLORA FINDER (T. japonica)

NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. 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. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. 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 or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


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