Parsley Piert

This genus of 20 annuals is closely related to Alchemilla (see lady's mantle) and widely distributed in Europe, the Mediterranean, Ethiopia, C Asia, Australia, and N America. Aphanes arvensis may be grown as an edging for paths, in gravel, between paving stones or on walls. Its common names, "parsley piert" (from the French perce-pierre) and "breakstone parsley", probably arose from the plant's medicinal uses. Once used as a salad herb and pickled for winter use, A arvensis is rarely eaten today, although it remains important as a medicinal herb.

Radiating, near-prostate annual with hairy, fan-shaped, pale green leaves, to 1cm (½in) long. Clusters of minute green flowers appear in summer.

Common Name:
Parsley Piert
Other Names:
Breakstone Parsley
Botanical Name:
Aphanes arvensis
Native Location:
Europe, N Africa, N America
Well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Athanes arvensis tolerates gravelly or stony soils, and acidic and alkaline conditions.
By seed sown in spring. Plants usually self-sow.
Plants are cut when flowering in early summer and used fresh, or dried for infusions, liquid extracts, and tinctures. May also be frozen.
2.5cm (1in)
20cm (8in)
Parts Used:
Whole plant
An astringent herb that has diuretic effects, and soothes irritated or inflamed tissues.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for kidney and bladder stones, and chronic kidney and liver disorders. Often combined with Agathosma spp. (see oval-leaf buchu) for kidney and bladder complaints and with Althea officinalis (see marshmallow) to increase demulcent effect for kidney stones.
Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited Pp 124-125