Dill is one of the favorite and easiest herbs to grow in the garden. It has a distinct look and a unique smell. However, there are some plants that look like dill, with similar-looking foliage, flowers, or seeds, making it difficult to tell them apart. These are:
In this article, we’ll explore six plants often mistaken for dill and how to tell the difference between them.
But first, let’s see what dill looks like.
What Does Dill Look Like
Dill (or dill weed) is a herbaceous plant with feathery foliage, upright stems, and small leaves. This herb has a very distinctive fragrance and taste and is used to flavor soups, sauces, and dressings.
6 Plants That Look Like Dill
Some plants are easy to tell apart from dill, while for others, you need to know what to look for. They can differ in size, shape, texture, color, smell, and taste. So, how can you tell the difference between them? Let’s find out!
Pro Tip: If you know what dill smells like, then it is easy to distinguish. No other plant smells alike.
1. Dill vs. Fennel
Fennel looks almost identical to dill. Both herbs are from the Umbelliferae family, with nearly identical feathery leaves and clusters of yellow flowers. Dill and fennel are easy to grow and will reseed themselves for the following year.
The main differences between dill and fennel are:
- Bulb – fennel has a bulb at the base of the plant with stems coming out of it. Dill doesn’t have it.
- Aroma – fennel has a distinct aroma that is very different from dill. Unlike dill, fennel has a licorice-like smell and is often used to make candies, desserts, and pastries.
2. Dill vs. Cumin
Cumin and dill are both herbs from the same Umbelliferae family. Both herbs have similar leaves and flowers with slight differences in size and shape but a big difference in color. It’s easy to grow these plants as they reseed themselves after growing.
The main differences between dill and cumin are:
- Leaves – cumin leaves are bulkier than dill leaves and are slightly different in shape.
- Flowers – cumin has tiny white flowers, while dill has yellow.
- Aroma – cumin has a slightly spicy scent that is more intense than dill’s subtle aroma.
3. Dill vs. Anise
Anise is a herb that is also from the Umbelliferae family. Similar to dill and other plants from the same family, anise has a cluster of small white flowers formed like an umbrella. It has oval-shaped, flat, light green leaves with darker veins on the lower part of the plant.
Due to the abundance of seeds, anise, like dill, will reseed themselves easily for the next growing season.
The main differences between dill and anise are:
- Leaves – apart from leaves similar to dill, anise also has oval-shaped, flat, light green leaves with darker veins at the bottom of the plant that look entirely different from the dill’s feathery leaves.
- Flowers – anise has tiny white flowers, while dill has yellow.
- Aroma – Anise is another aromatic herb, but unlike dill, it has a distinct anise-like smell.
4. Dill vs. Dogfennel
Dogfennel (also called false dill) is a fast-growing and fast-spreading weed that can reach up to 2 meters in height. Its leaves resemble dill leaves and is often mistaken for dill.
Dogfennel contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to the liver and thus should never be used as a culinary substitute for true dill. 
The plant is invasive. It can spread by wind-blown seeds and rootstock. Removing this plant from your garden before it starts to flower and form seeds is essential. 
There are many differences between the two plants. So, the main differences between dill and dogfennel are:
- Stem – dogfennel has a hairy stem, while the dill stem is smooth. Also, dogfennel grows as a single stem, while dill has multiple suckers from its main stem.
- Leaves – all dogfennel leaves grow close to each other from the main stem, while dill leaf stalks have a larger base sheathing the stem. Dill leaves that are attached to the leaf stalk are well-spaced out. Also, the bottom leaves of mature dogfennel are usually brown and wilted.
- Flowers – dogfennel flowerheads are small, plume-like, and white, while dill has tiny yellow flowers that grow in a clump shaped like an umbrella.
- Aroma – dogfennel has a distinct odor that is slightly sour and musty, which is very different from the lovely dill smell.
5. Dill vs. Roman Chamomile
While both Roman chamomile and dill are herbs, they look and smell completely different. So it is not difficult to tell them apart. However, the middle growth stage of chamomile can be visually mistaken for dill to an untrained eye.
There are a few differences between Roman chamomile and dill. The main differences are:
- Stem – chamomile’s stems are wiry and spindly, while dill stems are slender.
- Leaves – Roman chamomile has thin, short, narrow leaves, while dill has thin and long ones.
- Flowers – chamomile blooms with large, white, or pinkish flowers. While dill flowers bloom with tiny yellow flowers.
- Size – chamomile only grows to about 1 foot (30 cm) tall, while dill can grow up to 4 feet (122 cm) tall.
- Aroma – while both herbs produce a lovely smell, they are very different.
6. Dill vs. Chervil
Chervil (also called French parsley) is another herb from the Umbelliferae family. Apart from flower clusters growing on a long stalk that have a similar appearance to an umbrella, chervil looks nothing like dill.
There are many differences between the two plants. So, the main differences between dill and chervil are:
- Leaves – chervil leaves look different than dill. They look more like parsley leaves.
- Flowers – chervil has small white flowers with petals, unlike dill, which has tiny yellow flowers and no petals.
- Aroma – chervil smell is a bit like parsley or carrot, which is mildly sweet. This aroma is very different from the dill.
Tips To Grow Dill
So, as you see, of all the herbs, only fennel is nearly identical to dill. All herbs have something obvious to tell them apart from dill.
Hopefully, in our article today, you found the answer for plants that look like dill and how to tell them apart.
Check out our Growing Guides to learn more about how to grow plants of your choice. Learn and help your plants by reading these guides.
Also, check out other similar articles in our Gardening How To section.
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