Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), Anthriscus cerefolium
Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature
on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate
Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
Chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium Hoffm., Scandix cerefolium
L., or Cerefolium cerefolium Britt., is native to the Caucasus
Mountain, south Russia, and western Asia, and is naturalized in
the United States. Known as garden chervil, salad chervil, gourmet
parsley, and French parsley, this small, hardy plant reaches a
height of 0.5 meters. An annual, chervil develops pinnate leaves
with deeply cut ovate segments, producing a foliage that is very
finely divided in appearance (14.1-4). Small white flowers are
borne in compound umbels. The herb is produced commercially in
France and the western United States.
The reported life zone of chervil is 7 to 21 degrees centigrade
with an annual precipitation of 0.5 to 1.3 meters and a soil pH
of 5.0 to 8.2 (4.1-31). The plant grows best in cool, shaded
or partially shaded locations on well-drained soils. It is
usually grown as a spring or autumn crop because high temperatures
cause rapid bolting. The leaves can be harvested 8 to 12 weeks
after seeding and must be careful to prevent significant loss
Fresh leaves of chervil are parsley-flavored with an anise-like
fragrance. The leaves, used to intensify the flavor of other hebs,
are employed in salads, soups, garnishes, meats, fish, sauces,
eggs, and vinegar. Chervil is perhaps best noted for use in combinat
herbs such as basil, chives, and tarragon. The collective blend
is called "fine herbes" and used in French cuisine.
As a kitchen spice, chervil is often substituted for French tarragon
where the latter is unavailable.
As a medicinal plant, chervil is considered a diuretic, expectorant,
and stimulant. It has been used against eczema and to lower blood
pressure. Another Anthriscus species, hedge paraley, is
suspected of causing allergic reactions, such as hay fever, resulting
from contact with the flowers (11.1-96) .
Chaerophyllum bulbosum L., called chervil or tuberous chervil,
is a hardy biennial that produces an edible root. A member of
the Apiaceae family, this plant is native to southern Europe.
Its culture is similar to that of carrots, and it produces an
externally grey or blackish root that has a yellowish-white,
sweet-tasting flesh. The roots are used as a vegetable.
Chervil is generally recognized as safe for human consumption
as a natural seasoning/flavoring and plant extract (21 CFR section
182.10, 182.20 ).
[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in full in the original reference].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997