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Slender Parsley Piert

Aphanes australis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, gardens, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, walls, wasteland, woodland.

Green, no petals
Unstalked, tight flower clusters. The clusters are surrounded by prominently toothed, leaflike stipules. The stipules have 5 to 7 lobes. 4 sepals. 1 stamen.
Elliptical, smooth and hairless, yellowish-brown and about 1cm long. Very similar in appearance to Parsley Piert (Aphanes arvensis) but unlike Parsley Piert the fruit lacks the distinct constriction where it joins the erect sepals.
An annual flower with short-stalked, deeply 3-lobed leaves. The leaves are up to 1cm in length. Often grows on bare ground.
Other Names:
Small-leaved Parsley Fern.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Aphanes microphylla, commonly known as Slender Parsley Piert or Small-leaved Parsley Fern, is a species of fern in the Rosaceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America and typically found growing in rocky or sandy areas, along the coast, or in dry sclerophyll forests. It's a small, delicate fern, with very small and delicate fronds that resemble parsley leaves, which gives it the common name. It's a hardy fern, tolerant of dry conditions and it's easy to grow. It can be grown from spores or by division. It's also used as an ornamental plant in rock gardens, or in mixed borders.


Slender Parsley Piert, also known as Aphanes australis, is a plant species native to many parts of the world, including Australia, Europe, and North America. It is a small, inconspicuous plant that is often overlooked, but it has many interesting characteristics and uses.

Description and Habitat

Slender Parsley Piert is a low-growing annual herb that grows to be about 5-15 cm tall. Its leaves are small and deeply lobed, giving them a resemblance to parsley, hence the name "Parsley Piert." The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are greenish-white in color and bloom from spring to summer.

Slender Parsley Piert can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, waste areas, and disturbed sites. It is often found growing in compacted soil, where it can tolerate harsh growing conditions.


Despite its small size and inconspicuous appearance, Slender Parsley Piert has several practical uses. One of its most notable uses is as a medicinal herb. The plant has traditionally been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, respiratory problems, and digestive issues.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Slender Parsley Piert has culinary uses as well. Its leaves can be used as a flavoring in soups and stews, and they can also be added to salads for a fresh, herbal flavor.

Ecological Importance

Slender Parsley Piert also plays an important ecological role. It is a pioneer species, meaning it is one of the first plants to colonize disturbed or barren soil. Its ability to grow in harsh conditions makes it an important player in the process of ecological succession, where new plant communities establish themselves over time.

In addition to its role in ecological succession, Slender Parsley Piert also provides food and habitat for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies.

Conservation Status

Despite its many uses and ecological importance, Slender Parsley Piert is not currently listed as a threatened or endangered species. However, like many plant species, it is susceptible to habitat loss and degradation, which can have a negative impact on its populations.

In conclusion, Slender Parsley Piert may be small and unassuming, but it has many interesting characteristics and uses. Its role in ecological succession and its value as a medicinal and culinary herb make it an important plant species to be aware of and appreciate.

Additional Information

One interesting characteristic of Slender Parsley Piert is its ability to tolerate harsh growing conditions. Its small size and deep roots allow it to survive in compacted soil and areas with little water or nutrients. This makes it a valuable plant for erosion control and soil stabilization in disturbed areas.

In addition to its culinary uses, Slender Parsley Piert has also been used in folk medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The plant contains several compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. It has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis, and digestive issues such as diarrhea and indigestion.

While Slender Parsley Piert is not currently listed as threatened or endangered, it is important to note that habitat loss and degradation can have a negative impact on its populations. As with many plant species, conservation efforts such as protecting its natural habitats and reducing the use of herbicides and pesticides can help ensure its continued survival.

Another interesting fact about Slender Parsley Piert is its role in traditional medicine. It has been used by indigenous cultures in Australia to treat a range of ailments such as coughs, colds, and skin conditions. The plant has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for digestive disorders.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Slender Parsley Piert has also been used in the production of natural dyes. The plant contains pigments that can be extracted and used to create shades of yellow, green, and brown.

Another benefit of Slender Parsley Piert is its role in promoting soil health. The plant is a nitrogen fixer, which means it is able to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by other plants. This helps to improve soil fertility and promotes healthy plant growth in the surrounding area.

While Slender Parsley Piert may be small and unassuming, it is an important species with many fascinating characteristics and uses. From its role in ecological succession to its value as a medicinal herb and natural dye, this plant has much to offer and is definitely worth taking the time to appreciate.

Slender Parsley Piert also has cultural significance in some regions. In Europe, the plant has been associated with the feast day of St. John the Baptist, which falls on June 24th. It was believed that if the plant was gathered on this day and placed in a woman's shoes, it would bring her good luck and protect her from evil spirits.

Additionally, Slender Parsley Piert has been used in some cultures as a symbol of resilience and determination. Due to its ability to grow in harsh conditions and its role in ecological succession, the plant is sometimes used as a metaphor for overcoming adversity and persevering through difficult circumstances.

Finally, it's interesting to note that Slender Parsley Piert is part of the rose family, Rosaceae, which includes a wide variety of plants including apples, pears, strawberries, and many ornamental plants. Despite its small size and inconspicuous appearance, the plant shares many characteristics with its larger and more well-known relatives in the family.

Overall, Slender Parsley Piert is a fascinating plant with many interesting characteristics and uses. Its cultural significance, role in soil health, and value as a symbol of resilience are just a few examples of the many ways in which this small but mighty plant has made its mark on the world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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