Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley)

Plant Info
Also known as: Erect Hedge Parsley
Family:Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life cycle:annual
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil, edges of woods, thickets, along roads
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:2 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in flat clusters (umbels) 1½ to 2 inches across, in groups (umbellets) of 10 to 20 flowers each. Clusters are at the top of the plant and at the end of stems that arise opposite the leaves. Individual flowers are white, about 1/8 inch across with 5 notched petals of unequal size, a creamy white center and 5 white to pink stamens. The flowers on the outer edge of an umbellet open first; the unopened flowers may have a pinkish tinge.

[photo of bracts] At the base of an umbel are 2 or more vary narrow bracts that may be slightly spreading. Up to 8 bracts are at the base of each umbellet, though they are very small and hard to see.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound in groups of 3 to 5, up to 5 inches long, 4 inches wide, alternately attached with a small sheath where the leaf stalk joins the stem. In the lower part of the plant, leaflets are feathery and fern-like. Leaves near the flowers at the top of the plant are smaller and less deeply divided.

[photo of leaf and stem hairs] Leaves and stems are covered in stiff, appressed hairs giving them a rough texture. Stems are erect, ridged and branched.

Fruit: Fruit type: barbed Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is oval, about 1/8 inch long and covered in hooked hairs. It ripens to brown and splits into 2 seeds. The hooks attach the seed to nearly anything that comes in contact with it and help it spread.


This is a new alien species to Minnesota, and quite invasive. An article from the Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin says this could be even worse than Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) so warrants careful watch. There are several species of carrot with small white flowers and feathery leaves and can be easily confused. When I first came upon the sprouting leaves in May I thought it might be Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) but once it started flowering it was obviously something else, since Queen Anne's Lace has large, showy bracts. A good way to ID this is by the few, narrow bracts at the base of the umbel—that along with the texture of the stem were the clinchers for me. Combine that with hooked hairs on the fruit and you've probably nailed it. Early in the season the plants look open and airy but fill in with many branches as they mature. It seems to have a preference for moist soil and part shade, but apparently will grow almost anywhere. This new invader needs quick action against it.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Susie
on: 2012-03-14 17:58:56

How did this Plant get to the US???

Posted by: Gary - Meadow Park marsh, Minnetonka
on: 2012-07-21 16:26:48

Have several photos that seem to match yours.

Posted by: Deb - Eden Prairie
on: 2012-08-09 16:42:35

On the boulevard

Posted by: Steve - Eagan
on: 2014-08-01 16:28:46

Was pulling a bunch of other invasives with sticky seeds and found this plant covering the open back area of my lot. Guess I know what I will be doing over the next several days.

Posted by: Julia
on: 2014-10-30 10:53:55

Can anyone please post a photo of this plant as a 1st year plant before it has flowered.

Posted by: Dianne - Lebanon Hills Park, Dakota County
on: 2015-03-26 15:07:40

Japanese Hedge Parsley is prolific along the Jensen Lake Trail in Lebanon Hills Park (Eagan) last summer (7/2014). I also found a small patch of it in the Cedarbridge neighborhood (NE Burnsville; Dakota Co., close to the Minnesota River Valley NW Refuge).

Posted by: Linda - Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan MN
on: 2015-09-17 02:43:19

Yes, this is all over Lebanon Hills Reg. Park. The new, volunteer Habitat Restoration Crew have been pulling it since July around eastern trails and Jensen, Holland, & Schulze Lakes. Plant has now gone to seed but some of us are still pulling first year plants in moist soils. We will continue this and garlic mustard pulling in the park for years, I think.

Posted by: Gabe M - Prairie Island, Goodhue Co.
on: 2017-07-28 15:41:34

Just found this plant in one of our woodlots today. Can't seem to rule it out as something similar. Would this be the first Goodhue Co. record?

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