Can anyone tell me what this is

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Jaeger

Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
670
17
United Kingdom
Aye Up Techguyone - small image but it looks like ground elder (goat weed/gout weed/bishops weed) a quick i-net trawl suggests that it was once used medicinally (gout?) Not sure about any BC uses although 'when I were a lad' we used to use the larger hollow stems as makeshift pea-shooters! lol.
 

fellows

Tenderfoot
Apr 1, 2015
73
0
Dorset
Show a pic of the leaf to be sure, but i am pretty certain it is either sweet Cicely or it's cow parsley.

If it's cow parsely, it's good for very little (apart from pea shooters apparently) bu if it is Sweet Cicely, it can be a great additive to foods. Warning: Hemlock can look similar to both Cow Parely and Sweet Cicely and is poisonous so be absolutely sure before picking and processing the plant using a field guide (look out for purple blotches on the stem.

Let us know the outcome:)
 

awarner

Full Member
Apr 14, 2012
485
4
Southampton, Hampshire
So Hemlock has purple blotches on the stem?
Thanks for the info as I have found this in abundance on one of my woodland walks (quite shady wooded area) and just automatically assumed it was hemlock.
Are there any more tell tale signs to tell the difference between the two?
 

techguyone

Full Member
Jan 19, 2015
81
1
W Mids, United Kingdom
Now I have a point of reference to look at mine is called 'Cow Parsley' (Queen Anne's Lace)

Cow parsley is the predominant roadside plant from March through to June, when its delicate, nodding white flowers adorn nearly every rural roadside in the country – hence the old name of Queen Anne’s Lace. By the time they have flowered however, the leaves are past their best for eating. It takes a lot of skill and experience to be sure of identification from basal leaves alone. I recommend familiarising yourself with a nearby patch through at least one full growing season before even thinking of eating any. Even then proceed with extreme care, as the leaves are very similar to hemlock. The flavour is as you may expect, like common cultivated parsley.
Cow parsley is considered to be edible, though having a somewhat unpleasant flavour, sharper than garden chervil, with a hint of carrot.
Guess it's similar to hemlock so watch out when eating!

Edibility – 3
Identification – 1 – Take extreme care if you intend to eat cow parsley. It is a member of the carrot family, many of which share similar umbeliferous white inflorescences and several times pinnate leaves. This includes deadly species such as hemlock and hemlock water-dropwort, which can grow alongside it. Always confirm your identification against several key features and discard if you are not 100% of what you have. Read more: Know Your Carrots!
Distribution – 5
Season – basal leaves best Jan – May
Habitat – roadside verges, wood edges, river banks, meadows

This site goes into a bit more detail about it and its close poisonous relatives

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?454402-Hogweed-Hemlock-and-cow-parsley
 

awarner

Full Member
Apr 14, 2012
485
4
Southampton, Hampshire
One great thing about this topic is looking into this over the internet enabled me to stumble across another plant I wanted to identify which grows on mass by the River Hamble was Hemlock Water Dropwort which apparently is the most poisonous plant in the Britain.
 

cranmere

Settler
Mar 7, 2014
992
1
Somerset, England
Yes it usually has purple blotches but they can be pretty inconspicuous. Hemlock also has a strange, almost musty smell. I am always very careful with the umbellifers though, if in any doubt at all leave well alone.

So Hemlock has purple blotches on the stem?
Thanks for the info as I have found this in abundance on one of my woodland walks (quite shady wooded area) and just automatically assumed it was hemlock.
Are there any more tell tale signs to tell the difference between the two?
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,349
132
45
Coventry (and up trees)
if you are starting to find this subject interesting, get yourself on a recognised course, 2 or 3 days, with a decent expert. Me and the Missus are in the middle of a 4 day course (spread over a couple of months) with a guy called Fred Gillam, a very knowledgable chap, who covers, not only edible plants but medicinal ones too and fungus in the autumn. (his web site is. www.thewildsideoflife.co.uk).
but it is seriously worth investing on a course of some kind as one little mistake can be fatal.
but i am now totally hooked on the subject and am having to put up more bookshelves this weekend as a result, lol!
 

Jack Bounder

Nomad
Dec 7, 2014
479
1
Dorset
Good books for identifying plants are The Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose and the New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace. The former book provides relatively easy keys and lots of pictures. The latter book is very much the bible of professional field biologists interested in British flora. But be warned, it is big/heavy and requires a good understanding of botanical terminology. Identification is through detailed keys, rather than pictures (of which there are few). That was the first edition anyway. It looks like there's a third edition available.
 

Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
0
51
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
I think it is cow parsley.

Warning: don't even think about eating umbellifers unless you seriously know what you are doing. Some are edible, others can be fatal, and they all look very similar to each other unless you are experience. In foraging terms they are the group that you learn last, because they are the most difficult. And don't believe internet identifications based on a picture.