Anethum graveolens (dill)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Anethum graveolens L.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Anethum arvense Salisb.
- Anethum sowa Roxb. ex Fleming
- Ferula graveolens (L.) Spreng.
- Peucedanum anethum Jess.
- Peucedanum graveolens (L.) Hiern
- Peucedanum sowa (Roxb. ex Fleming) Kurz
- Selinum anethum Roth
- Selinum graveolens (L.) Vest
International Common Names
- English: garden dill
- Spanish: anis aleman; eneldo
- French: aneth; aneth odorant; fenouil batard; fenouil puant
- Chinese: shi luo
- Portuguese: endro
Local Common Names
- : bisbas
- Czech Republic: kopor vonavý; kopr vonný
- Dominican Republic: hinojo; inojo
- Estonia: aedtill
- Germany: Dill, Garten-; Gurkenkraut
- Greece: anethon
- India: sowa
- Indonesia: adas manis; adas sowa; ender
- Italy: aneto odoroso; oneto
- Laos: phak s'i
- Latvia: smaržig
- Lesser Antilles: fenouil bâtard; lami dill
- Lithuania: paprastasis krapas
- Malaysia: adas china; adas pudus; ender
- Myanmar: European dill; Indian dill; sameik; samin
- Netherlands: dille
- Panama: anisillo dill
- Portugal: anetho; aneto; endrâo; endro maior; endro ordinario
- Puerto Rico: dill-weed
- Russian Federation: ukrop
- Spain: abezón doméstico; anega; anella; anet pudent; anetaverón; avezón doméstico; eneldo viscoso; fenoll bord; fenoll pudent; fonoll pudent; hinojo hediondo; onet
- Thailand: phakchi lao; thian-khaopluak; thian-tatakkataen
- AFEGR (Anethum graveolens)
- AFESO (Anethum sowa)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Anethum graveolens is an annual herb with a long history of cultivation since ancient Egyptian times for culinary and medicinal uses (Jana and Shekhawat, 2010). It is listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds as an “agricultural weed, casual alien, cultivation escape, environmental weed, garden thug, naturalised, sleeper weed, weed” (Randall, 2012). Although no PIER risk assessment was made for the species, it is known to be invasive in Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012) and was included in a list of invasive species in Spain and Lithuania (Randall, 2012). It is also an adventive species in many parts of the world, including much of Eastern Europe, parts of Western Europe, North America, the West Indies, Mexico and Central America (Liogier and Martorell, 2000; Hand, 2011; USDA-ARS, 2015). It grows subspontaneously in Brazil (Forzza et al., 2010) and is occasionally spontaneous after escaping cultivation in Puerto Rico (Liogier and Martorell, 2000), is common in Florida and a roadside weed in the northeastern USA (Stephens, 2012). It is also known as a cultivation escape in Austria, Panama, and California, USA (Randall, 2012; Flora of Panama, 2015).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Apiales
- Family: Apiaceae
- Genus: Anethum
- Species: Anethum graveolens
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Often called the 'carrot' or 'parsley' family, the Apiaceae family consists of anise-scented, caulescent annual herbs from taproots, characterized by flowers borne in rounded, compound umbels, from which the family's earlier name of Umbelliferae is derived. The family includes many common vegetables and kitchen herbs such as celery, carrot, fennel, dill, coriander and parsnip.
The species Anethum graveolens, or dill, is a common herb used throughout the world for culinary and healing purposes. The common name 'dill' may be derived from the Norse word 'dilla', meaning 'to lull or soothe' in reference to its medicinal usage (Jana and Shekhawat, 2010; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015).
Indian dill, grown widely in northern India (formerly classified under the species Anethum sowa), is a distinct botanical variety (Anethum graveolens var. sowa) that has a high content of the toxic compound dillapiole compared with European dill, which is free of it.
DescriptionTop of page
Erect, annual, blue-green, glabrous herb, up to 1.5 m tall, taproot up to 12 mm in diameter, all parts strongly smelling (herbaceous) especially after crushing. Stem subterete, up to 12 mm in diameter, much branched, sulcate, internodes often hollow. Leaves alternate, decompound, sheathed; sheath forming an open cone, embracing the stem at base, 1-3(-5) cm long, sulcate; petiole subterete, equally long or up to 13 cm longer than the sheath, lower leaves usually rather long petiolate, higher ones almost without petiole; blade triangular to ovate in outline, up to 30 cm x 50 cm, usually much smaller, pinnately divided into 2-6 pairs or whorls of primary pinnae and one top-pinna; each pinna again pinnately divided 2-4 times into linear or filiform, acute lobes of 1-60 mm x 0.1-1 mm. Inflorescence a compound umbel, 4-16 cm in diameter; peduncle up to 30 cm long; bracts and bracteoles usually absent; primary rays 5-35 per umbel, 1-10 cm long, unequal in length, longest ones at the outside of the umbel; secondary rays 3-35 per umbellet, 1-15 mm long; flowers bisexual, actinomorphic, some central ones often remaining rudimentary, protandrous (usually the styles and stigmas becoming fully developed after shedding of the corolla and stamens); calyx vestigial, sometimes 5 small teeth present on top of ovary; petals 5, distinct, subovate in outline, up to 1.5 mm x 1 mm, top strongly inflexed and notched, yellow; stamens 5, filaments about 1.5 mm long, yellow; pistil with inferior, bilocular ovary and a fleshy, conical stylopodium bearing 2 spreading styles about 0.5 mm long. Fruit a lens-shaped schizocarp, 2.5-6 mm x 2-4 mm, light or dark brown with a whitish to pale brown margin, splitting at maturity into 2 one-seeded mericarps which are attached at their top to an erect thin carpophore; mericarp flat, usually with 3 longitudinal prominent ridges and 2 flat, wing-like commissural ridges; on the commissural side, usually 2 dark brown longitudinal vittae, and on the dorsal side, between each 2 ridges, one vitta; the fruits are crowned by the persistent stylopodium and styles. Seed with testa adnate to the mericarp. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl 5-25 mm long; cotyledons opposite, linear, 15-50 mm x 1-2 mm, entire.
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
The earliest known use of Anethum graveolens was in ancient Egypt, and as a result of this long history its origin remains uncertain, although it is probably south Eurasia. It has been present in Europe since Roman times and it is assumed that monks brought dill to the rest of Europe. A. graveolens now grows spontaneously in both temperate and hot regions of the world where it is considered an alien species, including Puerto Rico, Brazil, Austria, Finland, Lithuania, many parts of the USA, Canada, Spain, and the Mediterranean (Hand, 2011; Randall, 2012). Dill is now cultivated in India, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, England and the Americas.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Turkey||Present||‘doubtfully native’ in Asiatic Turkey; Original recorded location: Turkey-in-Asia|
|Austria||Present||Introduced||Alien, not established|
|Belgium||Present||Introduced||1855||Alien, not established|
|Denmark||Present||Introduced||'Adventitious (casual)’, including Bornholm|
|Estonia||Present||Introduced||Alien, not established|
|Finland||Present||Introduced||‘Adventitious (casual)’, including Ahvenanmaa|
|Ireland||Present||Introduced||Alien, not established|
|Italy||Present||Introduced||Alien, not established|
|Latvia||Present||Introduced||Alien, not established|
|Spain||Present||‘Adventitious (casual)’; native to southern parts, introduced elsewhere|
|United Kingdom||Present||Introduced||‘Adventitious (casual)’|
|Bermuda||Present||Introduced||common and troublesome weed|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Introduced|
|-Prince Edward Island||Present||Introduced|
|Panama||Present||Introduced||Bocas del Toro|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Present||Introduced||St. Vincent|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Present||Introduced|
|United States||Present, Widespread||Introduced|
|-California||Present||Introduced||environmental weed, cultivation escape, weed|
|-District of Columbia||Present||Introduced|
|-Missouri||Present||Introduced||Introduced, uncommon and widely scattered in Missouri|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Naturalized||naturalised|
|French Polynesia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Marquesas Islands||Present, Only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced||cultivated on Marquesas- Ua Pou|
|Brazil||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Colombia||Present||Introduced||Cultivated. Caldas, Guarne, Medellín, Rionegro, Sonsón|
|Ecuador||Present, Only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced||Azuay, Pichincha|
|Paraguay||Present||Introduced||Central; Original citation: Paraguay Checklist (2015)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
A. graveolens may have originated in Eurasia, perhaps southern Asia, but it is now known around the world, especially across Europe and the Americas. It has been cultivated for centuries, having been known for its culinary use by the ancient Egyptians and, later, Romans (Jana and Shakhawat, 2010; USDA-ARS, 2015).
Date of introduction to the West Indies is unknown. The species was not listed in Bello’s (1881; 1883) work on Puerto Rico, but it was present in Bermuda before 1918 as Britton (1918) mentions in his flora that the species had been previously reported as a common and troublesome weed. By 1920 the species was reported to have escaped from cultivation in parts of the West Indies including Guadeloupe, Martinique, and also in Florida (Britton and Millspaugh, 1920), and by the 1920s it was occasionally spontaneous after cultivation in Puerto Rico, and widely grown there in gardens for flavouring (Britton and Wilson, 1925).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
A. graveolens poses a moderate risk of introduction to non-native habitats. The species has been widely planted in regions around the world and has been reported to escape from cultivation and to naturalise in surrounding areas, often becoming adventive (Liogier and Martorell, 2000; Hand, 2011; Randall, 2012) and in some places invasive (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012, Randall, 2012). A restricting factor to the widespread invasive potential for A. graveolens would be a low seed set outside of cultivation, which could result from underdeveloped flowers and lack of proper pollination and fertilization (Jana and Shekhawat, 2010). Other restricting traits include intolerance of frost and root disturbance (Jana and Shekhawat, 2010; PFAF, 2015). Invasive traits include its ability to produce seeds that can remain viable for up to ten years, the widespread global trade of its seeds for food and medicinal purposes, global cultivation of the species for these same reasons, and its ability to thrive in dry conditions (Jana and Shekhawat, 2010; FloriData, 2015). Considering its demonstrated potential for invasiveness and invasive traits, risk of introduction for this species is moderate and may rise with further development of commercial crop breeding methods which may promote further spread of the species.
HabitatTop of page
In cultivation, A. graveolens is grown in backyard gardens and on agricultural land. The species can occur in both waste and cultivated grounds (Britton and Millspaugh, 1920). It grows in lower humid montane forests (Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015) and dry valleys (Bolivia Checklist, 2015). In Peru the species can also be found in disturbed areas (Peru Checklist, 2015).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
A. graveolens reproduces by seeds, which are not true seeds but small, dry fruits called schizocarps; these fruits split upon maturity, with each half containing one seed (Stephens, 2012). Seeds remain viable for 2-3 years without special storage measures and the germination rate is about 75%. The 1000-seed weight is 4-5 g.
Physiology and Phenology
Seeds take 2-4 weeks to germinate, flowering starts about 2-3 months after sowing, and ripe seed is harvested 5-6 months after sowing, but wide fluctuations are possible depending on climatic circumstances, cultivar, available nutrients and water. Flowering and fruiting are extended over a long period per plant. Because dill flowers are strongly protandrous, cross pollination and fertilization seem normal; the flowers are well visited by bees and flies. Dill grown under full sun produces significantly more leaves, a larger leaf area and a higher herb yield than plants that receive only 30-70% of natural light. Flower bud development is also faster and the oil concentration almost six times higher than in plants grown under reduced light levels. The essential oil content in the fresh herb increases gradually with advancing growth and development, peaking at the young-fruit stage, and then declining until seed maturity.
Primarily a summer crop of temperate climates but capable of being grown in tropical regions, A. graveolens requires warm to hot summers with full sun, as even partial shade could substantially impact growth and seed production. It prefers rich, well-drained, loose soil and tolerates a range of soil types, including light (sandy) and medium (loamy), with a pH range of 5.3 to 7.8. Its annual rainfall range is 500-1700 mm. The species is frost-sensitive and cannot tolerate wet conditions; it thrives in full light at monthly average temperatures of 16-18°C, and minimum temperature for growth is about 7°C (Jana and Shekhawat, 2010; PFAF, 2015).
The species grows in the Andean regions of Bolivia and Ecuador, and favours mid- to high elevation ranges. In Panama the species is reported to grow between 1000 and 2000 m (Panama Checklist, 2015), while in Ecuador, it has been reported growing higher, between elevations of 2000 and 3000 m (Vascular Plants of Ecuador, 2015). Similarly, in Colombia A. graveolens has been reported to occur at elevations of 2000-2500 m (Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015) while in the Bolivian Andes it grows between 0-500 and 3000-3500 m (Bolivia Checklist, 2015).
Per 100 g edible portion dry dill herb contains approximately: water 7 g, protein 20 g, fat 4 g, carbohydrates 44 g, fibre 12 g, ash 12 g, ascorbic acid 60 mg. The energy value is approximately 1060 kJ/100 g. The essential oil content is 0.1-1.5%. The approximate composition of dry dill fruits per 100 g edible portion is: water 8 g, protein 16 g, fat 14 g, carbohydrates 34 g, fibre 21 g, ash 7 g. The energy value is 1275 kJ/100 g. The essential oil content is 2-6%,
ClimateTop of page
|BS - Steppe climate||Tolerated||> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Tolerated||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||500||1700||mm; lower/upper limits|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Between the early seedling stage and flowering, A. graveolens when cultivated is often attacked by the fungus Erysiphe anethi, which can be controlled by spraying with a copper-containing fungicide at intervals of 7-10 days. Root rot, caused by a Fusarium sp. can lead to serious damage. Prolonged wet weather in temperate climates encourages the fungi Fusarium culmorum, Pythium sp. and Rhizoctonia sp., which can destroy the crop; control is not possible; the only possible measure is to grow a crop that can easily be wind-dried (not too dense, sparingly supplied with N). Wet weather at the flowering stage can cause fungal attack of Botrytis sp. and Alternaria sp. which prevent fruit set. Virus infections and insect pests (lice and caterpillars) are possible but are seldom very serious. Larvae of the chalcid fly Systolealbipensis may infest fruits.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
A. graveolens has been intentionally dispersed by man for centuries, as it has been widely used for human culinary and medicinal purposes. Although specific vehicles of dispersal (e.g., by soil or equipment) have not been reported, the species is known to have been unintentionally introduced through agriculture to non-native areas such as Cyprus and Latvia, and in Austria the species was intentionally released for ‘fauna improvement’ but reportedly ended in 1859 (DAISIE, 2015). It is also known to be a cultivation escape in places such as Puerto Rico, Panama, and California, USA (Liogier and Martorell, 2000; Flora of Panama, 2015; Randall, 2012), and has become invasive in Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al, 2012).
Pathway CausesTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Environment (generally)||Positive and negative|
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Risk of introduction for A. graveolens to non-native habitats is moderate, as it has demonstrated its potential to escape from cultivation and has a long history of widespread, repeated introduction. However, there is a lack of evidence demonstrating significant environmental damage caused by A. graveolens in places where it has become weedy or invasive. The species has not been assessed for potential damage in such places, but considering its widespread range, future research for its invasive potential and monitoring is recommended.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Fast growing
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
UsesTop of page
The green parts and the fruits of dill have been used since ancient times both as a culinary and as a medicinal herb. It has a pleasant aromatic odour but a slightly bitter and pungent taste. Finely chopped fresh or dry leaves and young inflorescences are used as a culinary herb in soups, salads and sauces. Inflorescences and ripe fruits are used to flavour pickled cucumbers, onions, vinegar, sauces, pastries and bread; in India the fruits are an ingredient of curry powder. Dill oleoresin is a concentrated aromatic powder, obtained by extracting the fruits with alcohol and then drying the extract; it is especially recommended for low-salt or salt-free diets.
Essential oils can be steam-distilled from the green parts (dill herb oil, dill weed oil) and from the fruits (dill seed oil). In the USA the regulatory status 'generally recognized as safe' has been accorded to dill (GRAS 2382), dill herb oil (GRAS 2383) and dill seed oil (GRAS 2384). Dill herb oil is mainly used for flavouring and seasoning in the food industry and has largely replaced the whole herb. Dill herb oil is frequently adulterated with d-limonene, which is obtained in the preparation of sweet-orange oil concentrate, and with synthetic carvone.
Dill essential oil is colourless or pale yellow when freshly distilled. The chief components of dill herb oil are phellandrene (35%) and 3,9-epoxy-p-menth-1-ene (25%), and of dill fruit oil are limonene (up to 70%) and carvone (up to 60%) (limonene and carvone are closely related; together they represent about 95% of the oil). Carvone can be applied as a germination suppressor, e.g. in potatoes. The essential oil composition of dill varies strongly with geographical origin, cultivar and maturity of the extracted part; for example, carvone content in fruit oil ranges from 50-60% in the USA and 35-60% in Europe. Wide differences in data on the composition of the essential oil can also partly be explained by different extraction and distillation methods. After oil extraction, the fruits contain approximately 15% protein and 16% fat, and are used as cattle fodder. Monographs on the physiological properties of the dill oils have been published by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM).
Dill seed oil, usually in the form of dill water (distilling one part of fruits with 20 parts of water), is used medicinally to alleviate digestion problems, especially of children. Dill oil is said to be strongly antiseptic; it inhibits the activity of several fungi and in mice it shows anticarcinogenic properties. Dill fruits have been shown to be spasmolytic and bacteriostatic for dyspeptic disorders. Bruised and boiled in water and mixed with dill roots, dill fruits are applied externally against swellings of the joints. In general dill is said to have carminative, stomachic, stimulant, diuretic, resolvent, emmenagogue and galactogogue activity.
Fresh and dried inflorescences and infructescences are increasingly being used in the ornamental flower industry.
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
Human food and beverage
- Spices and culinary herbs
- Essential oils
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
- Seed trade
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
A. graveolens much resembles fennel (Foeniculum vulgare); it can be distinguished by its smell (dill smells bitter, slightly pungent, fennel smells like liquorice), by its fruits (dill fruits are lens-shaped and narrowly winged, fennel fruits are not as flat and are not winged) and by the average length of the secondary rays in the umbel (longer in dill).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
There is a lack of research regarding methods of prevention and control for A. graveolens.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
Areas for recommended research in the future include risk assessment and impacts of the species in places where it is known to be weedy, adventive, or invasive, as well as methods of prevention and control.
BibliographyTop of page
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Halva S, Craker LE, Simon JE Charles JD, 1992. Light levels, growth and essential oil in dill (Anethum graveolens L.). Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants, 1(1/2):47-58.
Hamner KC, Naylor AW, 1939. Photoperiodic responses of dill, a very sensitive long-day plant. Botanical Gazette, 100:853-861.
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Singh A, Randhawa GS, Mahey RK, 1987. Oil content and oil yield of dill (Anethum graveolens L.) herb under some 9 agronomic practices. Acta Horticulturae, 208:51 60.
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ReferencesTop of page
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Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Lorence DH, 2015. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands website., Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/hawaiianflora/index.htm
Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Tornabene MW, Weitzman A, Lorence DH, 2015a. Flora of Micronesia website., Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/micronesia/index.htm
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ContributorsTop of page
28/01/2015 Updated by:
Marianne Jennifer Datiles, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA
Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA
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