Information on Parsley-piert

Common Name: Parsley-piert
Scientific Name: Aphanes arvensis
Irish Name: Mionán Muire
Family Group: Rosaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Parsley-piert could sometimes be confused with:

Parsley-piert, Slender,

This is quite a small, easily passed-by, annual which grows in shallow, stony soil, footpaths and woodland tracks, arable fields and lawns. It is a creeping plant, rarely attaining more than 10cm with really minute, green flowers which have 4 erect sepals and no petals. Blooming from April to October, these tiny flowers have just one stamen and are borne in dense clusters opposite the leaves with triangular-lobed stipules forming a ‘cup’ which surrounds the calyx. The leaves are short-stalked, hairy, fan-shaped with three segments, each deeply-lobed at its tip. This sprawling, downy plant is a native species which is found in its particular habitat throughout Ireland although it is very sparse in the north-west. It belongs to the Rosaceae family. 

I first saw this species in the Burren in 2012 and photographed it in 2014. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Parsley-piert
Parsley-piert

Although the leaves could look a little like those of Parsley, the story goes that the name ‘Parsley piert’ comes from the French, perce-pierre, which means a stone breaker or piercer. It does tend to look as if it is emerging from stones. Nicholas Culpeper, 17th century herbalist, prescribed this plant as a winter pickle.