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Image JPEG image Cow Parsley- foliage with grooved stems
The early foliage of Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is the easiest to pick but it is the stage when the plant shows the greatest resemblance to poison hemlock. Examination of the young leaf stem shows the characteristic grooves signifying that the plant is safe to pick for rabbits.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Ash
Ash leaves are suitable for feeding to rabbits as part of a mixture of plants. Young shoots (as in picture) are palatable.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Clover (red)
Clover is common on rough grassland and on roadsides where there is forage to pick. There are many varieties, and it is palatable for rabbits. Red clover (Trefolium pratense) is easier to pick than white clover (Trefolium repens) because it is larger. Clover has an unfounded reputation for causing bloat in rabbits probably because ingestion of large quantities of young clover can cause bloat in cattle. The digestive physiology of ruminants, such as cattle, is different from hindgut fermenters, such as rabbits.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Cow Parsley- comparison with poison hemlock
This picture was taken in May. On the left is the young hemlock plant (Conium maculatum). On the right is a young cow parsley plant (Anthriscus sylvestris). The plants were growing next to each other and illustrate the differences. The main stem and the leaf stems of hemlock are circular, smooth, pale green with reddish purples spots and blotches. The main stem of cow parsley is also circular but has longitudinal grooves. The leaf stems of the cow parsley have the characteristic celery-like groove and are slightly hairy. The colour of cow parsley stems varies from green to purple like the example shown in this picture.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image D source code Bindweed (Hedge)
Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) is a safe plant for rabbits. They love it. Its sister plant - Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)- has a question mark over it because it contains toxins. The plants can be differentiated by their flowers, leaves and the way they grow. Hedge bindweed has large pure white flowers and grows vertically, twining around plants as it goes. It is commonly found in hedges.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image Blackberry (brambles)
Blackberry (Rubus 'fructiosus') is a common hedgerow plant, although the prickles can make it difficult to harvest . It is a semi-evergreen shrub that is common all over Europe. In winter, when other plants are rare, some leaves can still be found to feed to rabbits. In the British Isles there are over 320 ‘microspecies’. All are suitable to feed to rabbits
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Blackberry leaves
Bramble leaves stay on the plant through the winter and are a useful forage plant when other food is scarce. The leaves may become discoloured and dry. This does not matter to the rabbit.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Bramble tips
The tips of new growth on blackberry plants are easy to pick because the prickles on the newly grown stem are soft. They are very palatable to rabbits.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Cow parsley main stems
The main stems of cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) are very different from poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). The main stems are ridged and slightly hairy with no blotches.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR
Image JPEG image Cow parsley
Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is a short-lived perennial. It grows in grassland, along hedges and woodland edges, road verges, railway banks and wasteland. The foliage is one of the first plants to appear in the spring and last to disappear in autumn. It is safe and palatable for rabbits but there is always a concern that the plant may be confused with hemlock (Conium maculatum)- see section on ‘Plant Toxicity’. Examination of the stems will confirm its identity as cow parsley.
Located in Media / / FORAGING / PLANTS TO LOOK FOR