Spreading hedge-parsley (Torilis arvensis)

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Spreading hedge parsley in flower
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Spreading hedge-parsley fact file

Spreading hedge-parsley description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderApiales
FamilyApiaceae
GenusTorilis (1)

Spreading hedge-parsley is usually an upright-growing plant, which has two or three-lobed leaves with toothed edges (2). The flowers are either white or pink and are arranged in clusters called umbels (2).

Size
Height: up to 100 cm (2)
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Spreading hedge-parsley biology

Spreading hedge-parsley is an annual plant, but may occasionally occur as a biennial, and flowers from July to September (2). Dispersal is carried out by animals, the seeds germinate in autumn or spring, and are able to stay dormant in the soil for a number of years (3).

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Spreading hedge-parsley range

This plant is found throughout much of western, central and southern Europe and reaches into south-western Asia. In the north-west of Europe, however, the species is in decline and is threatened in many areas (3). The decline of this species in Britain has been one of the most dramatic of any arable weed (4).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Spreading hedge-parsley habitat

This species usually appears with autumn-sown cereals, but occasionally may be found with other arable crops (4). It can also occur on disturbed or waste ground, and seems to prefer calcareous clay, but can grow on a broad range of soil types (4).

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Spreading hedge-parsley status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (3).

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Spreading hedge-parsley threats

Many agricultural 'weeds' have suffered a precipitous decline in the UK. The main cause of these declines has been agricultural changes associated with intensification, such as the increased use of chemical herbicides and fertilisers, the loss of field-margin refuges, and changes in traditional crop rotation techniques (3).

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Spreading hedge-parsley conservation

Spreading hedge-parsley is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species, for which Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity, is the lead partner (4). The Species Action Plan aims to maintain all current populations and help the species to become re-established in at least eight former sites by 2003. At present, spreading hedge-parsley is known to occur in at least one Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (3).

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Find out more

For more information on this species see:

Plantlife Species Dossier:
http://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/assets/saving-species/saving-species-dossier/Torilis_arvensis_dossier.pdf

The UK BAP Species Action Plan for this plant:
http://www.ukbap.org.uk

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Authentication

Information authenticated by Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity:
http://www.plantlife.org.uk

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Glossary

Annual
Lives or grows for just one year.
Biennial
A plant that lives for two years and typically flowers only in the second year.
Calcareous
Containing free calcium carbonate, chalky.
Umbel
In plants, a usually umbrella-shaped flower cluster in which the individual flower stalks originate at roughly the same point.
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References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (January, 2003)
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Press, B. and Gibbons, B. (1993) Photographic field guide: Wild Flowers of Britain and Europe. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd., London.
  3. UK BAP Species Action Plan (November, 2001)
    http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  4. Byfield, A. (2003) Pers. comm.
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Image credit

Spreading hedge parsley in flower  
Spreading hedge parsley in flower

© Bob Gibbons / Natural Image

Natural Image
24 Newborough Rd
Wimborne
Dorset
BH21 1RD
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 675 916
Fax: +44 (0) 1202 848 419
bobgibbons@btinternet.com

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