Guess it's similar to hemlock so watch out when eating!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.
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
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?