Anthriscus sylvestris, known as cow parsley,wild chervil,wild beaked parsley, keck, or Queen Anne's lace (UK), is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant in the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), genus Anthriscus. It is also sometimes called mother-die (especially in the UK), a name that is also applied to the common hawthorn. It is native to Europe, western Asia and northwestern Africa; in the south of its range in the Mediterranean region, it is limited to higher altitudes. It is related to other diverse members of Apiaceae, such as parsley, carrot, hemlock and hogweed.
The hollow stem grows to a height of 60-170 cm (24-67 in), branching to umbels of small white flowers. Flowering time is mid spring to early summer.
The tripinnate leaves are 15-30 cm (5.9-11.8 in) long and have a triangular form. The leaflets are ovate and subdivided.
Cow parsley grows in sunny to semi-shaded locations in meadows and at the edges of hedgerows and woodland. It is a particularly common sight by the roadside. It is sufficiently common and fast-growing to be considered a nuisance weed in gardens. Cow parsley's ability to grow rapidly through rhizomes and to produce large quantities of seeds in a single growing season has made it an invasive species in many areas of the United States. (Vermont has listed cow parsley on its "Watch List" of invasive species, while Massachusetts and Washington have banned the sale of the plant.)
Cow parsley can be mistaken for several similar-looking poisonous plants, among them poison hemlock and fool's parsley.
Cow parsley is considered to be edible, though having a somewhat unpleasant flavour, sharper than garden chervil, with a hint of carrot, to which it is related.
Cow parsley can be confused with giant cow parsley/giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), the sap of which can cause severe burns after coming in contact with the skin.
It is a Class B Noxious Weed in the State of Washington since 1989.