Although Cow Parsley is not actually toxic, it can easily be confused with Wild Carrot, which is toxic, and Hemlock, which is acutely toxic. Because these three plants look so similar, we feel that it is best to avoid all of them. While young and still emerging, Cow Parsley can easily be confused with Herb Robert, so please be sure of your identification.
To help with identification, the young stems of Cow Parsley are often pink and they have grooves in them (like celery) and are hollow. The leaves are a brighter green than those of Hemlock, not as finely divided, and the plant is slightly hairy. It grows 2'-5' tall and flowers April to June in the UK.
Cow Parsley is sometimes called Queen Anne's Lace, but this should not be confused with the more commonly called Queen Anne's Lace which is Daucus carota (Wild Carrot).