Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

Employees step up to maintain control of non-native invasive wild chervil infestations

Anthriscus sylvestris, commonly known as cow parsley, wild chervil, wild beaked parsley, keck or Queen Anne's lace, is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant in the family Apiaceae. Photo courtesy of Leonora Enking.

VERMONTGreen Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests have been successfully battling the non-native invasive wild chervil for the past 10 years. This species establishes along roadsides and parking lot edges and spreads to nearby fields, ruining hay crops, spreading a virus to carrot crops, causing photo-dermatitis to unsuspecting handlers and contributing to loss of biodiversity.

The primary means of controlling wild chervil is manual. Whole plants are hand-pulled just before they fruit and deposited on a massive covered, invasive species compost pile. In previous years, these control measures were primarily handled by Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crews, supervised by botany staff.

This year, less funds and fewer crews presented a potential issue in terms of maintaining control at infested sites.

Thanks to the passion and inventiveness of seasonal botanist Melissa Green, an all hands on deck Rochester ranger district work day was organized that resulted in collection of twenty five 50-gallon bags of wild chervil. This helped maintain one of the largest infestation sites. Melissa was able to control smaller infestations herself.

This type of initiative led to control efforts at another infestation site at Grout Pond, a remote high elevation pond at a developed recreation site. During a visit to review proposed site improvements, staff members from botany, recreation and engineering pitched in to manually remove the wild chervil and minimize potential spread during development. An added benefit was that staff from other program areas are now trained to identify and control wild chervil at the site.

Though the effort will need to be repeated, the diligence of Green Mountain and Finger Lakes staff has helped keep infestations small enough to aim for eradication.

Rochester ranger district staff stand on top of the day’s haul of wild chervil. Forest Service photo.

Manchester district recreation program coordinator Emily Lauderdale and engineer Mary Brown help seasonal botanist Melissa Green control wild chervil at the Grout Pond site. Forest Service photo.