Dog Parsley - Toxic, Combat


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Kids want to explore everything, that's nice and right. Unfortunately, there are plants in which parents should prevent this getting acquainted before the offspring gets cramps or paralysis. They include the dog parsley, and the wild herb collectors should know them very well, so they do not end up in the salad or saucepan because of their similarity to edible wild plants.
Dog parsley - arrangement and location
The dog parsley (Aethusa cynapium) belongs to the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae, historically Umbelliferae), which unite some more or less strongly poisonous plants of our latitudes. It is a typical field weed, as it loves calcareous and nutrient-rich soils that are often loosened up. Therefore, she also likes to settle in home gardens. From the field she likes to spread along the paths and on adjacent pastures.
Toxic, but rarely deadly
The dog parsley contains mainly the alkaloid aethusin, among other substances in a polyin mixture. Aethusin is similar to coniine, the poison of the spotted hemlock, and can cause similar discomfort. These range from burning in the mouth to nausea, cramping and paralysis, which can lead to death by respiratory paralysis.
In contrast to the spotted hemlock the dog parsley is not one of the plants from which even small amounts can be dangerous. At 0.2 percent polyin leaf and one percent root, the consumption of a few leaflets of dog parsley has no serious consequences for most animals.

  • No data available for humans, aethusin was not yet classified by the EU in terms of its dangerousness.
  • For mice, a lethal dose is reported for 50 percent of the population at 0.1 grams per kilogram of body weight.
  • If this dose is converted to a dog (unscientific, just to illustrate!), A 20-kilogram dog (such as a heavy Border Collie) would have to kill 1 kilogram of leaves.
  • For adult cattle, there are empirical values ​​in the literature, so the lethal amount is the consumption of 15 kilograms of leaves per animal.
Incidentally, it has been found in pile dwellings from the Bronze Age Hundspetersilie in large quantities in pot scraps, suggesting that the dog parsley was used in earlier times even in the kitchen.
Confusion with other umbels
The dog parsley looks similar to other umbellifers. It blooms white in umbels with several flower rays, as well as weevils and spotted hemlock, giant hogweed and hedge calf's droppings. It can reach an impressive height of up to one meter, as well as above-mentioned umbels, which grow in sizes between 60 centimeters and 1.50 meters.
All in all, there seems to be some caution, especially with regard to large umbels: meadow chervil and meadow-bear claw are phototoxic, hedge-calf droppings are poisonous, hemlock highly toxic. On average, however, the dog parsley remains slightly smaller than these umbels, as well as Giersch and Wilde carrot, which it also resembles. A change would therefore be especially close to these edible Umbelliferae. Before that you can keep it unpleasant odor, which is described as something garlic-like. The dog parsley should also taste sharp and burning, and the stem is often discolored as red as the spotted hemlock.
Also our parsley (see picture) belongs to the family of the Umbelliferae and differs only in the genus of the dog parsley. A confusion is therefore conceivable in principle. The dog parsley does not develop white flowers, our parsley. The dog parsley really smells quite different from the parsley, if you grate it between your fingers, and it has strong glossy undersides of leaves. Our parsley, especially the smooth, just smells like parsley, so a confusion is actually not easy.
Nevertheless, the curly parsley was bred in monastery gardens to avoid confusion. But it is also rumored that the confusion is due rather to abundant enjoyment of the monastery's own herbal liquor as on the similarity. Anyway, the dog parsley is certainly not a plant tolerated in a garden where small children play.
Combat dog parsley
  • The settlement of undesirable plants can be prevented by planting ground cover and applying mulch.
  • The dog parsley is difficult to combat with approved pesticides, the really effective agents are not approved for use in home garden or small garden.
  • The one to two-year-old plant belongs to the seed weeds, so it should be fought before flowering. It is most quickly removed by chopping, tearing or raking. The root has a straight spindle shape, which can easily be detached from the ground.
However, the often unpleasant Umbelliferae also bring much good into the garden, such as many herbs, without which our kitchen would be quite poor. In addition to parsley, fennel and dill, coriander and lovage, anise, chervil and caraway are also among the umbelliferous plants.
Source: Otto Wilhelm Thomé: Flora of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Gera 1885.

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