Home » Herbs » 15+ Plants that look like dill: Ultimate Collection

15+ Plants that look like dill: Ultimate Collection

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

This is the ultimate collection of 15+ plants that look like dill but aren’t. While familiar herbs such as cumin, fennel, and anise are widely recognized, we’ve also uncovered a selection of weeds that resemble dill.

Dill is a popular herb with a specific aroma that adds a distinctive flavor to various dishes, from pickles to pasta. However, nature has a way of creating look-alike plants that might surprise even seasoned gardeners. 

In this ultimate collection of over 15 plants, we will guide you through the diverse world of dill look-alike plants. These plants may resemble dill in appearance, but their aroma and taste differ.

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Table of Contents

  1. How to Identify Dill Plant
  2. What Does Dill Look Like When It Sprouts
  3. Plants That Look Like Dill
  4. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  5. Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
  6. Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
  7. Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  8. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
  9. Caraway (Carum carvi L.) is another plant that look like dill
  10. Carrot (Daucus carota)
  11. Salem Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  12. Thyme ( Thymus vulgaris)
  13. Chervil (Anthriscus Cerefolium)
  14. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  15. Summer Savory (Satureja Hortensis)
  16. Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
  17. Weeds That Look Like Dill
  18. Dogfennel (Eupatorium Capillifolium)
  19. Absinth Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
  20. Queen Anne’s Lace (Anthriscus sylvestris)
  21. Bishop’s flower (Ammi majus)
  22. Tips To Grow Dill

How to Identify Dill Plant

Dill, with the scientific name Anethum graveolens, is an annual herb within the celery family Apiaceae. Originally native to North Africa, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula, it has found widespread cultivation across Eurasia, where its leaves and seeds are used as a herb or spice for flavoring food (1)

A dill plant is easily recognizable for its tall, slender, hollow, grooved upright stems reaching 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm). Its leaves are feathery and delicate, resembling fern fronds. Vibrant bright green dill leaves grow in an alternate arrangement along the stems, giving the plant an airy appearance. 

Both the leaves and seeds are used as a spice to flavor various dishes. The leaves are known as dill weed to differentiate them from dill seed. You can use them fresh in salads or dips or dried in dishes with salmon like penne al salmone. However, the dried version tends to lose its flavor more quickly.

Dill has a distinct aroma, often described as a combination of anise and celery. It is easy to notice once you rub the leaves gently between your fingers. 

As the plant matures, it produces characteristic clusters of yellow flowers set in an umbrella shape.

Dill is one of the favorite and easiest herbs to grow in the garden. In this study it even appeared to be the third among the most in-demand herbs. It has a distinct look and a unique taste with mild flavor and hint of anise.

dill sprouts
dill sprouts

What Does Dill Look Like When It Sprouts

When dill begins to sprout, it produces small, delicate cotyledons (the first leaves to emerge from the seed) that are often rounded or oval in shape.

The delicate, feathery leaves, resembling tiny green needles, develop as the plant grows. 

In the early stages, dill sprouts are relatively short and may have only a few sets of leaves. However, as they continue to grow, dill plants can reach a height of several inches.

Even in the early stages, you may notice a subtle fragrance. While the scent may not be as pronounced as in mature plants, it still carries a hint of the characteristic dill aroma.

Plants That Look Like Dill

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Leaves of dill and fennel look a lot alike. They both have soft, feathery leaves and end up with clusters of small yellow flowers when they grow up. Both are carminatives and ease digestion, however if you sniff or taste, you can quickly tell them apart. Fennel smells like fresh anise and tastes sweet like licorice, while dill has that tangy smell and taste. While fennel leaves and seeds are often used in fish and other local Mediterranean dishes, the most popular part of the herb is the bulb. It adds a sweet crunch to salads when thinly sliced. 

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Anise is another herb that can be mistaken for dill, as both herbs belong to the same Apiaceae family.

Both have tall, slender stems with delicate, feathery leaves, producing dainty white or yellow flowers in an umbrella shape.

Anise distinguishes itself with even more delicate leaves and compact, clustered flowers compared to dill.

Although anise typically reaches a similar height and spread as dill—around 2-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide—it tends to grow more upright with a symmetrical and round shape, in contrast to dill’s sprawling nature.

Anise offers a sweet licorice, star flavor, and aroma, making it a common ingredient in desserts and drinks such as Pernod, Pastis, Ouzo, Raki, and Arak. 

aniseed plant
Anise (Pimpinella Anisum)

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)

Cumin and dill share similarities in their leaves and flowers, with minor distinctions in size and shape but a noticeable color difference. Cumin leaves are larger and have a distinct shape compared to dill leaves. Cumin blooms appear in late summer and display tiny pinkish flowers, whereas dill blossoms are yellow. Moreover, the aroma varies, with cumin emitting a slightly spicy and more intense scent than dill’s subtle fragrance.

While cumin is used in dishes worldwide, like Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, dill is more linked to pickling and seafood dishes.

Cuminum cyminum
Cuminum cuminum by Herbolario Allium: www.alliumherbal.com, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Roman Chamomile is a herbaceous plant with leaves similar to dill, particularly in its feathery and finely divided foliage. However, the leaves are generally smaller, more compact, and have a sweet, apple-like fragrance.

In addition, chamomile plants produce small daisy-like white petals with unique smells that are great for making chamomile tea rinse

Roman Chamomile
Roman Chamomile

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

Tarragon, also known as estragon, is a perennial herb often compared to dill, and both have their own special taste used in cooking. Tarragon is different from dill because it has shiny, long green leaves slimmer than dill’s. It has a strong flavor, and you only need a little bit when you cook. Originally from Eurasia, you can plant it in your garden. Tarragon plants make small, pale green or yellow flowers at the ends of their stems. While some gardeners might cut these flowers off to help the plant grow better, leaving a few can allow it to produce seeds. Collecting these seeds helps you grow new plants in the next season. It’s a cool way to keep having a big, healthy plant each year!


Caraway (Carum carvi L.) is another plant that look like dill

The caraway plant and the dill plant look alike when they are young because they both have small, pointy leaves that are finely divided. However, you can tell them apart by their smell and taste. Dill has a tangy and fresh flavor, while caraway has a warm, earthy, and slightly sweet taste, especially in its seeds. When fully grown, caraway is a bit taller than dill. Caraway is often used in making rye bread, sauerkraut, and certain drinks, while dill is more known for pickling and adding a fresh taste to salads, sauces, and seafood dishes. The flowers are different too – caraway has small white or pink flowers, and dill has tiny yellow flowers in clusters.

Carum carvi
Carum carvi by Robert Flogaus-Faust, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carrot (Daucus carota)

While carrot leaves may share some visual similarities with dill, especially in their finely divided and feathery appearance, some differences can help distinguish between them. Carrot leaves tend to be thinner and more delicate than dill leaves. Additionally, carrot leaves emerge from the top of the carrot’s edible root, forming a green, fern-like foliage, whereas dill leaves grow on tall stems, creating a more upright and bushy plant.

Carrot greens
Carrot greens

Salem Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Salem Rosemary may resemble dill in its needle-like leaves, however they are broader and thicker than the dill ones. Nevertheless, Salem Rosemary sets itself apart with its strong, pine-like fragrance and robust flavor. Rosemary Salem is an herb in the Lamiaceae family with the scientific name Rosmarinus Officinalis. While dill has a milder taste, rosemary imparts a more intense and savory profile to dishes. Rosemary Salem appears in many dishes, from bread, salads, and cakes to soups or stews. The herb often blooms in the spring with small blue flowers. Salem rosemary reaches a height of roughly 30 inches tall.

Salem Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Salem Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) via Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thyme ( Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme, with its tiny, elongated leaves, shares a feathery appearance with dill, creating a visual likeness between them. The primary distinction lies in thyme’s distinct aroma and taste, characterized by earthy and slightly minty notes. Thyme’s flavor profile sets it apart, making it a versatile herb with a different culinary impact than dill. If you have difficulties identifying thyme, here is a comprehensive guide.

Herbs rich in iron for anemia

Chervil (Anthriscus Cerefolium)

Chervil (also called French parsley or garden chervil) is another herb from the Umbelliferae family. Apart from flowers arranged in clusters and growing on a long stalk similar to an umbrella, chervil looks nothing like dill.

This a delicate annual herb is related to parsley with leaves that look more like parsley leaves. It has individual flowers with small white petals. 

Its mildly sweet aroma and visual resemblance offer a unique culinary profile that appears as a common constituent of the French herb mixture – fine herbs. 

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

The flat-leaf parsley resembles dill, but its leaves aren’t as soft and feathery. Also called French parsley, it has a deeper color and grows closer to the ground on a sturdy stem. The plant spreads out at the bottom, reaching a width of 12-18 inches (30-45cm). Parsley takes two years to complete its life cycle, and in the second year, it grows a tall stem with greenish-yellow flowers.

If you let parsley go to seed, you can collect the seeds to grow new plants in the next season. You can use parsley to add flavor to dishes or make it a main ingredient, like chimichurri or tabbouleh.

Top 7 Iron Rich Herbs
parsley leaf

Summer Savory (Satureja Hortensis)

Summer savories may resemble dills at first glance, but they are actually shrubs with narrow leaves. Originating from the Eastern Mediterranean region, these dill-like plants thrive when grown in the appropriate temperature conditions. Growing these dill-like relatives is straightforward, as they thrive in garden soil and indoor pots. While they prefer full sun, their growth isn’t hindered by dappled light.

Summer Savory
Summer Savory

Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

Marjoram and Dill share fine-textured leaves. However, there are notable differences when you look closely.

Marjoram typically features small, oval-shaped leaves that are pale green, while dill leaves are finely divided and resemble feathery needles. Additionally, Marjoram plants tend to be shorter, usually reaching around 2 feet in height, while dill can grow taller, reaching 2 to 3 feet.

While these visual cues might cause initial confusion, attention to the specific leaf shapes and overall plant structure can help distinguish them.

In addition, dill has a unique anise flavor and smell, while Marjoram has a sweeter citrusy taste and fragrance that makes a lovely tea for cough. Marjoram is sometimes known as the ‘joy of the mountains’ and belongs to the mint family.

Marjoram leaves
Marjoram leaves

Weeds That Look Like Dill

Dogfennel (Eupatorium Capillifolium)

Dogfennel, also known as false dill, is a rapidly growing and spreading weed that can reach heights of up to 2 meters. Its leaves resemble dill, often causing confusion between the two. However, it’s crucial to note that dogfennel contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, harmful to the liver, if swallowed and toxic to birds and mammals. The plant is sometimes used as an insecticide and fungicide. 

Since some weeds in the garden are toxic to people if allowed to spread unchecked, it’s crucial to keep a careful eye out and remove them before flowering and seed formation.

Spotting the differences between dill and dogfennel is pretty simple. Dogfennel’s stem is hairy, while dill’s stem is smooth and might have a few extra stems. Dogfennel leaves bunch up close to the main stem, with the bottom ones turning brown and drooping as they get older. On the other hand, dill leaves have a bigger base of the plant around the stem and are more spread out. Also, dogfennel has small, plume-like, white flowers, while dill has little yellow flowers that bunch up like an umbrella. And one big giveaway is that dogfennel doesn’t smell great—it has a sour, musty odor, unlike the nice smell of dill.

Dogfennel hairy leaves (Eupatorium capillifolium) by Brucewinter, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Absinth Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

Depending on its variety, this plant can be an annual, semi-woody, herbaceous, or grow in clusters. When this plant is young, it resembles dill with its small, pointed leaves clustered together. As it matures, reaching a height of 30-50 inches, its hairy and segmented leaves become more distinct.

This blooming plant has tubular yellow flowers, typically visible from early summer to late fall. This plant is widely used in drinks like Absinthe wine, as well as cocktails such as Bask, Vermouth, and regular wine.

Absinth Wormwood

Queen Anne’s Lace (Anthriscus sylvestris)

Known as cow parsley, wild chervil is a plant in the parsley family, native to Europe, western Asia, and northwestern Africa, and is related to parsley, carrot, hemlock, and hogweed. Cow parsley is an upright herbaceous perennial with tall hollow stems that produce small, white flower clusters in an umbrella shape, just like dill. However, cow parsley’s fern-like leaves are generally thinner and more delicate.

Every part of the cow parsley plant above the ground is edible, offering a flavor sharper than garden chervil and characterized as a mix of grassy parsley with a touch of licorice or aniseed. 

queen anne's lace
Queen anne’s lace

Bishop’s flower (Ammi majus)

Often referred to as false bishop’s weed, lace flower, or bullwort, this plant belongs to the carrot family, Apiaceae. With its feathery leaves and clusters of white, lace-like flowers, it resembles dill. However, they form dense, rounded umbels, whereas dill produces looser, umbrella-shaped clusters of yellow flowers.

Bishop’s flower tends to have a more upright and compact growth habit, often reaching a moderate height, while dill can grow taller.

Bishop’s flower (Ammi majus) by Josep Gesti, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tips To Grow Dill

If you want dill to plant in your garden successfully, choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Sow dill seeds directly in the garden or in pots, as dill doesn’t transplant well. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 18 inches apart, as dill can grow tall. Water the soil consistently to keep it evenly moist, especially during dry spells. Dill prefers a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH. Once the plants are a few inches tall, thin them to ensure proper air circulation. Harvest the leaves when needed and pinch off the flower heads to encourage leaf production. 

15 plants that look like dill
Vladka Merva on January 18th, 2024

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.