Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Spreading Chervil - Chaerophyllum procumbens   (L.) Crantz
Members of Apiaceae:
Members of Chaerophyllum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Apiaceae
Author(L.) Crantz
DistributionThis is essentially a Piedmont species, barely ranging east into the western Coastal Plain (but only along a few brownwater river floodplains). Ranges west to Rockingham, Forsyth, Iredell, and Lincoln counties, and thus absent from the Mountains and Piedmont foothills.

This is a mostly Midwestern species, ranging from NY to eastern NE, and south to SC and OK, rarely to northern FL. Though it occurs in the Appalachians to the north of NC, it is scarce in the southern Appalachians.
AbundanceInfrequent in the eastern Piedmont, but uncommon in the central Piedmont and along the upper portions of the Roanoke, Tar, and Cape Fear river floodplains in the upper Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a species of rich hardwood forests, usually away from any disturbed ground. It grows in rich bottomlands and on lower adjacent slopes, typically there in Basic Mesic Forests. It also grows on natural levees of brownwater rivers, under a hardwood canopy.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms from late March to April, and fruits in April and May.
IdentificationThis is a low-growing, leaning species with a weak stem, usually branched from the base, reaching to about 8-12" long at most. It has only a few alternate leaves, each one strongly bipinnately dissected into "lacy" segments, each lobe rounded and only 1/4" or less long and much narrower. In some leaf axils grow the small umbels on long stalks, with only 3-10 small white flowers in each umbel. In this species, the stem and leaves are glabrous or nearly so; the similar C. tainturieri is erect, much taller, has a quite hairy stem and leaves, and grows in disturbed soil of wooded margins, fields, and other similar places.
Taxonomic CommentsThere are several varieties named for this species, with Weakley (2018) indicating that only the nominate variety -- var. procumbens -- is present in the state.

Other Common Name(s)Wild Chervil
State RankS3 [S3S4]
Global RankG5
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