Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris)
Cow Parsley is a member of the carrot family and has a considerable tap root. It is found on Bepton Down dotted along the fence line.
It is a tall, erect perennial which can reach a height of 1.5m The stems are hollow and light green although some may look as though they are suffused with pink. (not to be mistaken with the reddish blotches found on hemlock.) It puts on rapid growth in the spring flowering in May and June before dying back. The flower umbels produce a number of small white flowers in frothy clusters (sometimes with a hint of pink). It reproduces through rhizomes and the production of masses of seeds. It will colonise whole areas rapidly if left unchallenged thus becoming invasive. Due to its root system it will also choke other plants.
One other thing although this plant is not poisonous it is very similar in appearance to both Hemlock and Fool’s Parsley which are both deadly.