The New International Encyclopædia/Chervil

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CHER′VIL (AS. cerfille, Ger. Kerbel, from Lat. cærefolium, from Gk. χαιρέφυλλον, chairephyllon, from χαίρειν, chairein, to rejoice + φύλλον, phyllon, leaf) (Scandix cerefolium or Anthriscus cerefolium). An umbelliferous plant which has long been cultivated as a pot-herb, used in soups and for a garnish, in the same manner as parsley. It is much more used in some parts of the Continent of Europe than in Great Britain or in the United States. It is a native of Europe naturalized in some parts of England and in a few localities in the United States. The leaves have a peculiar, somewhat sweetish, pleasantly aromatic smell and taste, by which the plant may be known from its congener Scandix anthriscus, a weed whose leaves have a disagreeable smell, and which is also distinguished by its hispid fruit. The umbelliferous plant called Venus's-comb or shepherd's-needle (Scandix pecten or Scandix pecten veneris), a native of Europe, often found in grain-fields, and remarkable for the appearance and large size of its fruit, and another species, Scandix australis, which grows in the south of Europe, have a taste and smell resembling chervil, and are used in the same way on the Continent. Sweet chervil, or sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata, the Scandix odorata of the older botanists), a native of the south of Europe and of some parts of Asia, common in the neighborhood of houses in Great Britain, although probably not a true native, is frequently cultivated in Germany under the name of Spanish chervil or anise chervil. In Scotland the plant is commonly called myrrh by the peasantry. Its smell is peculiarly attractive to bees, and the insides of empty hives are sometimes rubbed with its leaves, to induce swarms to enter. Chærophyllum tuberosum, sometimes called turnip-rooted chervil, is cultivated for the sake of its carrot-shaped roots, which are used in the same manner as carrots. The seed is said to lose its vitality quickly, and should be stratified or sown in the fall soon after ripening. The quality of the root is said to be improved by keeping.