Torilis japonica (Japanese Hedge Parsley)
|Also known as:||Erect Hedge Parsley|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.
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.
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:
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.
Leaves and stems are covered in stiff, appressed hairs giving them a rough texture. Stems are erect, ridged and branched.
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 relatively recent introduction to Minnesota, first reported in 2009 from Battle Creek Park in St. Paul, where it was found to be widespread. It has since spread across the metro area and beyond, found as far away as Renville and Lake counties. The most current distribution info can be found on EDDMapS. In the majority of cases, it's established along hiking and bike trails, campgrounds and other recreational areas, which means people are tracking it in on footwear, tires and dogs. We cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of cleaning your gear!
Wisconsin saw its potential to form large populations and designated it a prohibited/restricted species years ago. Minnesota's Weed Advisory Group completed a risk assessment on this species in 2015 and determined that, since at that time (in MN) it wasn't forming monocultures in high-quality habitat and did not appear to reach densities of more than 50% where it did establish itself, it did not warrant any special status. So it's left to run wild except for the efforts of dedicated land managers and volunteers, and there aren't nearly enough of them.
There are several species of carrot with small white flowers and feathery leaves and it's not hard to confuse them all. Emerging leaves in May might be mistaken for Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) but once it starts flowering it is 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 stiff, appressed hairs on leaves and stems, and the hooked hairs on the fruits are a unique combination. 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. If you see it, kill it.
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- mature Japanese Hedge Parsley plant
- early season plant
- early spring growth, with Creeping Charlie
- Japanese Hedge-parsely emerging with Garlic Mustard
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2012-03-14 17:58:56
How did this Plant get to the US???
on: 2012-07-21 16:26:48
Have several photos that seem to match yours.
on: 2012-08-09 16:42:35
On the boulevard
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
on: 2020-05-01 13:50:04
To me the early spring version of this plant resembles sweet cicely. I need to spend some more time improving my discernment. Please post any tips you may offer for quick differentiation.
on: 2020-07-23 15:26:50
Just discovered a patch in our valley along the roadside. Would not have noticed except I was pulling Queen Anne's Lace and this was blending in with it. Thanks for the great photos! Really helped me confirm the ID.
on: 2020-07-25 18:50:39
We noticed huge infestations this year at Afton state park. There's at least a half acre surrounding the new parking lot at 50th st. as well as more infestations surrounding the cabin and yurt rentals. We contacted staff and just as you stated here they consider it low priority because in their view it doesn't adversely affect ecosystems?!
on: 2020-07-29 18:57:14
They are an Invasive. Kill it. Let native plants take root and flourish as they should. If u see hedge parsley pull it out by the root! If u have native plants, seed them.
on: 2020-09-09 14:23:38
Observed Sept 2020 along Cedar Lake Trail, just northwest of Cedar Lake.
on: 2022-05-28 19:03:25
Several have popped up on a sunny hillside in my yard. Wasn't sure if it was Chervil or Hemlock, but one important characteristic not mentioned is the lower purple stems.
on: 2022-05-28 19:11:33
Bruce, I have only seen green stems myself and have not seen any reference that notes purple stems as a consistent characteristic; purple coloring can be caused by environmental factors. FWIW, chervil, hemlock and hedge parsley are all invasive weeds and should be eradicated regardless.