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Home > Herb Gardening > Herbal Plants > Chervil
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) Herbal Plants
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)Name: Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

DESCRIPTION: A fragile biennial herb that is generally treated as an annual. It has fine fern-like foliage that resembles parsley but has a subtle aniseed flavour. The stems are brittle. Flowers are white and borne in umbels in summer. The flowers are followed by longish, narrow seeds.

ORIGIN: The Mediterranean and western Asia.

CULTIVATION: Chervil is grown from seed sown in early spring or autumn. Sow the seed where the plants are to grow and carefully thin out later. As the plant does not cope well with heat, autumn plantings are preferred in most areas of Australia. The plant will not thrive in full sun and a semi-shaded location is needed, though plenty of winter sun is desirable. A position in the dappled shade of deciduous trees is perfect. The soil needs to be rich with organic matter and kept moist. Alternatively, grow chervil in a pot. The plants have very pretty foliage. After flowering the plants die, so remove flower stems as soon as they appear to prolong the life of the plant. If some flowers are left to mature, the plants will self-seed readily.

USES: Chervil is one of the ingredients in the classic French seasoning fines herbes along with tarragon, parsley and chives. It should be used fresh and added just in the last few minutes of cooking to preserve the flavour. It is particularly good when added to soups, egg and vegetable dishes (including salads) but the subtle flavour also complements fish and chicken. The herb has also been valued traditionally as a medicinal herb, primarily as a purification aid.
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