This article was last updated by on

Hedge Parsley Vs Hemlock: Big Differences To Know

Hedge Parsley and Hemlock are different plants, but as they fall in the same plant family, they resemble each other in many ways.

Generally, Hedge Parsley vs. Hemlock debate arises due to their similar growth size, inflorescence, and native distribution range. However, they differ in shape and structure of leaves, stems, flowers, seed pods, and toxicity.

Learn more about distinguishing Hemlock and Hedge Parsley from the article below to sidestep the toxic one.

Hedge Parsley Vs Hemlock [Overview & Facts]

Hedge Parsley and Hemlock are two different plants that share a few similarities.

Although similar to look at first glance, they also have many differences.

Hedge Parsley (Torilis arvensis) and Hemlocks (Conium maculatum) belong to the plant family Umbelliferae (Apiacea).

Image illustrates the inflorescence of Poison Hemlock and Hedge Parsley
Hedge Parsley and Poison Hemlock have umbel type of inflorescence.

Furthermore, Hemlocks and Hedge Parsley come from the same plant family, associating themselves with Carrot, Coriander (Cilantro), Parsley, and Celery.

Some common similarities between Hedge Parsley and Hemlock are their native range, inflorescence, and size.

I. Hedge Parsley & Hemlock: Common Similarities

Let’s see some lowkey similarities between Hedge Parsley and Hemlock below.

1. Native Range

Hedge Parsley is native to most parts of Asia and a few parts of Northern Africa, occupying a temperate biome. 

Although occupying a similar distribution and habitat, a native population of Hemlock is also present in a few parts of Europe.

2. Inflorescence/ Flowers

Since Hedge Parsley and Hemlock belong to the same plant family, they both have Umbel-shaped (umbrella-like) inflorescence.

The Umble inflorescence is also a common feature of Carrot and Cilantro flowers, as they hail from the same plant family.

Additionally, Hedge Parsley and Hemlock bear clusters of creamy white flowers and bloom during the summer.

3. Plant Size

As upright herbaceous plants, Hemlock and Hedge Parsley grow to a similar average height of 6 feet and 2-4 feet wide.

However, their overall spread and height depend on the environmental conditions.  

Image illustrates the leaves of Hedge Parsley Vs Hemlock
Both Hedge Parsley and Hemlock sport pinnately compound leaves.

II. Hedge Parsley Vs Hemlock: Differences

Hedge Parsley and Hemlock have many thorough differences in the shapes and structure of plant parts, habits, and toxicity.

1. Plant Parts.

The common plant parts that can be helpful to discern both the plants are leaves, flower petals, and stems.

Let’s look at the differences from the table below.

CharacteristicsHedge ParsleyHemlock
LeavesColor: Green (Matte)

Smell: Mild Parsley Like

Hairs: Present

Leaflets: 3-7
Color: Dark Green (Glossy)

Smell: Strong & Unpleasant

Hairs: Absent

Leaflets: 3-13
StemsColor: Plain Green

Hairs: Present

Stems are solid
Color: Green With Purple Blotches

Hairs: Absent

Stems are hollow
FlowersShape: Lobed PetalsShape: Free Petals

2. Plant Habit 

Poison Hemlock is a biennial plant taking with flowering and fruiting occurring during the second year of its growth, where the plant seeds profusely.

However, Hedge Parsley is an annual plant that completes its lifecycle in the first year of its growth and ends by producing seeds.

Image illustrates the flowers of Hemlock and Hedge Parsley
Flowers of Hedge Parsley have lobes in the petals.

3. Plant Toxicity

Hemlock is poisonous, so you should not touch or interact with its parts.

However, Hedge Parsley is comparatively safe but is not actually edible. It just doesn’t have the toxic chemical traits of Hemlock.

Hemlock species are poisonous plants, including the Water Hemlock, which people often mistake for Cow Parsnips or the non-toxic Yarrow!

4. Seed Pods

The seed pods of Poison Hemlock contain ridges and furrows with minute hairs.

While the mature seed pods of Hedge Parsley have stiff hairs without ridges and furrows.

From Editorial Team

Invasiveness of Plants!

Poison Hemlock and Hedge Parsley are both invasive plants outside their native range.

Hence, it’s better to uproot and manage the plants to prevent them from invading the open habitats.