|Keck beside the car park. Byfield Village Hall. 28 January, 2017|
In his book , 'A Natural History of the Hedgerow' (Profile Books, 2016) the author, John Wright states: '...cow parsley is alive with spring insects and it is a favourite with bees, which are the main pollinators'. I must say that in over half a century I cannot recall ever seeing a bee on cow parsley although it does attract quite an array of 'small fry'; I suspect that bees do visit the flowers but only in small numbers - unless I have been very unlucky - but the amount of nectar available must be extremely limited.. However, the later-flowering and structurally similar Hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium, attracts bees in abundance and John Wright may have confused the two species.
It is related also to Hemlock, Conium maculatum. As children we would frequently use the hollow stems of Cow Parsley as peashooters; thank goodness we didn't confuse the two species!
* Quoted in Richard Dawkins' biography', 'An Appetite for Wonder'.