Parsley Imposters: 6 Plants That Resemble the Real Thing

If you think parsley is just a mundane garnish, think again. Though often overlooked, this leafy herb is a powerhouse of flavor and nutrition. But before you add it to your plate, make sure you’re not mistakenly using one of the many imposters disguised as parsley. Let’s take a closer look at six plants that closely resemble this culinary favorite.

French Parsley: The Elegant Twin

French parsley, also known as garden chervil, shares more than just its family name with true parsley. With its delicate structure and light green hue, this aromatic herb could easily be mistaken for its counterpart. But don’t be fooled – French parsley has a distinct hint of anise or licorice, setting it apart from the original.

French Parsley

Poison Hemlock: Deadly Deception

While parsley might be harmless, poison hemlock is anything but. This dangerous doppelganger belongs to the same family as parsley but boasts larger pinnate leaves and towering hollow stems. With its white flower umbels resembling those of parsley, it’s essential to exercise caution. Ingesting even a small amount of poison hemlock could have severe consequences.

Poison Hemlock

Hedge Parsley: A Wild Pretender

Common hedge parsley, also known as “tall sock-destroyer,” is an annual plant that often goes unnoticed. Resembling parsley with its dark green fern-like leaves, this weed may fool the untrained eye. However, its larger flowers, covered in short white hairs, and its unique ability to cling to clothes and animal fur set it apart from the genuine article.

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Hedge Parsley

Chinese Parsley: A World of Flavor

Chinese parsley, also called cilantro or coriander, is a versatile herb that adds flair to various cuisines. With its dark green leaves and bipinnate structure resembling flat-leafed parsley, it’s easy to see why they could be mistaken for one another. However, Chinese parsley boasts a distinct flavor profile, loved by many but off-putting to some due to its aldehyde content.

Chinese Parsley

Cow Parsley: Queen Anne’s Lace Lookalike

Cow parsley, also known as Queen Anne’s lace, is a biennial plant that shares parsley-like traits. Standing tall at up to sixty-seven inches, this herb boasts fern-like leaves and delicate white flowers arranged in umbels. While it may resemble flat-leafed parsley, cow parsley has a unique flavor profile, combining weak parsley notes with hints of licorice.

Cow Parsley

Parsley Piert: The Weedy Imposter

Parsley piert is a small plant that sneaks its way into short-mowed lawns. Although it may not garner much attention, it shares some similarities with parsley. With green flowers growing at the base of its pinnate leaves, this plant has a storied history as a medicinal herb. Despite its reputation as a weed, parsley piert has been used to alleviate fever, kidney stones, and fluid retention.

Parsley Piert

Before you pluck that sprig of parsley, make sure it’s the real deal. Be aware of these parsley lookalikes and the potential risks they pose. To ensure you’re enjoying authentic parsley, visit the Ames Farm Center, where you’ll find an array of genuine herbs ready to elevate your culinary adventures.

So next time you reach for parsley, keep an eye out for its imposters. Stay informed, stay safe, and savor the true essence of this beloved herb.

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