Erect hedgeparsley (Torilis japonica)

Cluster of small white erect hedgeparsley flowers.

 
 

Erect hedgeparsley (also known as Japanese hedgeparsley) is a biennial plant in the carrot family. Second year plants can grow up to six feet tall and have an umbrella shaped cluster of small white flowers. This invasive plant is relatively new to Minnesota and researchers have not extensively studied it. Because of the lack of study, the impact of erect hedgeparsely on native habitats is not fully known. Erect hedgeparsley looks similar to other native and non-native members of the carrot family, so its distribution in Minnesota is likely underestimated.

Description

Appearance

Erect hedgeparsley can grow up to six feet tall and has clusters of small white flowers.

Leaves and Stem

After germinating, erect hedgeparsley forms a circular cluster (rosette) of parsley-shaped leaves near the ground. The leaves have deeply lobed leaflets. The plant may stay in this rosette form throughout the first year and overwinter as a rosette. The second year the plants put up a flowering stalk with leaves that attach to the stem one at a time in an alternating pattern. Leaves can look fern-like and both sides of the leaves have small white hairs pressed close to the leaf surface. Some plants may put up the flowering stalk in their first year. Stems have small hairs that point downwards.

Flowers

Erect hedgeparsley has small white flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters. Each flower has five heart-shaped petals that vary in size. At the base of each cluster of flowers are two or more green bracts that look like tiny, pointy, narrow, green leaves.

Seeds

The fruits are green and turn brown when mature and have small hooked hairs that allow them to attach to fur or clothing. Fruits are small (1/8 inch) and each fruit contains two seeds.

Roots

Erect hedgeparsley has a taproot.

Biology

Erect hedgeparsley can be an annual or biennial plant. In its first year, it may only be rosette of parsley-shaped leaves near the ground. It may stay as a rosette for the full first year or it may bolt and put up a flowering stalk. If it does not flower in the first year, it will flower, set seed, and die in the second year. Erect hedgeparsley can grow in shaded or more open areas. Its habitat includes forests, grasslands, and disturbed areas such as roadsides.

Origin and Spread

Erect hedgeparsley is native Asia, Europe, and northern Africa. In the United States it is mainly found in the northeastern United States and along the west coast.

Refer to EDDMapS Distribution Maps for current distribution.

Don't be fooled by these look-alikes

  • Sweet cicely, Osmorhiza claytonii (native) – small plants less than two feet high, flowers in small clusters of four to seven flowers. Sweet cicely has hairs on stems that are long and thin and extend out from the stem, not close to the stem and pointing downward like in erect hedgeparsley.
  • Field or spreading hedgeparsley, Torilis arvensis (non-native) – looks very similar to erect hedgeparsley, except it lacks the small green bracts at the base of the flower clusters. Field/spreading hedgeparsley is not known to be present in Minnesota, so report if found and include photos of the base of the flower clusters.
  • Queen Anne's lace, Daucus carota (non-native) – has long, green, branching bracts under the flower clusters.
 
Regulatory Classification

Erect hedgeparsley is not regulated.

Threat to Minnesota

Erect hedgeparsley can thrive in a variety of habitats from forests to more open, sunny areas. Landowners in Wisconsin and Ontario have reported that it spreads rapidly when introduced to a new area. It is a relatively new species in Minnesota and the Midwest so research is needed to better understand if it is having impacts on native ecosystems and what those impacts are.

What you should do

One way that invasive plant seeds and fragments can spread is in soil. Sometimes plants are planted purposefully. You can prevent the spread of invasive plants.

PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks

  • REMOVE plants, animals & mud from boots, gear, pets & vehicle.
  • CLEAN your gear before entering & leaving the recreation site.
  • STAY on designated roads & trails.
  • PLANT non-invasive species.
Native Substitutes
 
Control Methods

Mechanical control can be done by pulling the plant by hand or with equipment such as a shovel. While erect hedgeparsley is not a regulated noxious weed, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture disposal guidelines provide recommendations for disposal of pulled plants. Mow or cut stems before flowers are present.

Herbicide control can be done using systemic herbicides which are taken up by plants and move within the plant, which can kill leaves, stems, and roots. Use herbicides with the active ingredient glyphosate or triclopyr. Apply herbicide to the leaves in the spring or to plants that are resprouting after cutting.

Reporting

Erect hedgeparsley is unregulated, but you can add to the public information about this species by reporting new occurrences through EDDMapS Midwest.

Resources