Anethum graveolens

Anethum graveolens L. (Medit.?) – A rather rare and always ephemeral alien. Cultivated for its edible seeds and leaves since quite a long time in Belgium. Most early herbarium records (first half of the 19th century) probably represent cultivated plants. Possibly first recorded as an genuine escape on waste land in Liège in 1870. Subsequently seen in numerous and widely scattered locations. In the past decades apparently less frequently cultivated and decreasing. At present most often associated with grain importation (unloading quays, road verges and dumps).
Anethum graveolens shares the typical anise-smell with Foeniculum vulgare. However, the latter is a tall perennial with usually paler yellow petals. Confusion is more likely with Ridolfia segetum, another grain alien. Both are annuals with bright yellow petals and leaves with filiform segments. However, Ridolfia has much smaller fruits (1,5-2,5 mm long vs. 5-6 mm long in Anethum). In the absence of fruits Ridolfia is distinguished by the absence of an anise-like smell and by its emarginate petals (rounded in Anethum) (Fabri & Lambinon 1991).

Selected literature:

Ashraf M., Aziz J. & Bhatty M.K. (1978) Studies in the essential oils of the Pakistani species of the family Umbelliferae: 6. Anethum graveolens (dill, sowa) seed oil. Pakistan J. Sci. Ind. Res. 20: 52-54.
Badoc A. & Lamarti A. (1991) A chemotaxonomic evaluation of Anethum graveolens L. (Dill) of various origins. J. Essential Oil Res. 3(4): 269-278.
Fabri R. & Lambinon J. (1991) Quelques ombellifères jadis adventices lainières dans la vallée de la Vesdre, inédites pour la flore belge. Dumortiera 49: 16-22. [available online at:
Komarova R.A. & Shashilova L.I. (1988) Geographical variability of morphological characters in the dill (Anethum graveolens L.) (in Russian). Sborn. Nauch. Tr. Prikl. Bot. Genet. Selek. 118: 68-73.
Piggott A.G. (1982) An exotic spice introduced to Gunong Ulu Kali, Genting Highlands. Malayan. Nat. J. 35(1-2): 187-188.
Sharma I. & Lamba L.C. (1982) Structure of pericarp and dehiscence mechanism in Anethum graveolens L. Curr. Sci. 51(6): 83-85.
Szujko Lacza J. (1972) The outer and inner morphological description of Anethum graveolens L.: 2. Reproductive organs. Acta Bot. Acad. Sci. Hung. 17(1-2): 189-215.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith