The Weed Formerly Known as Cow Parsley

April 26, 2006 @ 8:31 am | Filed under: Nature Study

If you’ve been following the comments of my last post, you know that we’ve been trying to nail down the identity of Jane’s mystery mint relative. Theresa noticed its similarity to a wildflower Dawn was trying to identify.

These two weeds have led us on a merry hunt this morning. Alas, Jane isn’t home today, so our chief botanist is missing all the fun. Here’s what we have learned:

This plant, which my children have always called cow parsley,


isn’t cow parsley after all.

I don’t know where they came up with the name in reference to this particular plant, but it’s been in use around here for years. They rejoice at its arrival in our lawn every spring, for they love to suck the nectar honeysuckle-fashion from its tiny orchid-like flowers.

Dawn’s mystery wildflower appears to be the same plant, but when I looked up what I thought was its name this morning, I discovered that cow parsley is an altogether different plant (also called wild chervil).

In the course of the investigation, we happened upon a picture of Jane’s mystery mint relative. (She knew it was a mint because of its square stem.) Here’s her plant:


Rose can’t wait for Jane to get home so she can tell her this plant, which grows in abundance in what used to be my south-wall flower bed, is called ground ivy. (Also: creeping Charlie, field balm, cats-foot, and gill-over-the-hill; officially Glechoma hederacea L.)

Meanwhile, Dawn tracked down our not-cow-parsley plant: Henbit!

(Won’t Jane be surprised.)

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3 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. This was so much fun, Melissa! I’m glad we both had our mysteries solved. 🙂

  2. Great sleuthing, ladies! Weeds don’t stand a chance around you folks!LOL!

  3. I have alsways called the weed in the top picture “jack in the pulpit”