Water Hemlock
Spotted Water Hemlock - Spotted Cowbane

Cicuta maculata

Apiaceae [=Umbelliferae] (Parsley) Family


This plant is extremely poisonous

Water Hemlock is an upright, smooth perennial with fleshy or tuberous roots. Its preferred habitat is stream banks, moist ditches, marshes and wet sites.  Distri-
bution is throughout the Escambia region.

Its leaves are alternate on the stem; pinnately (an elongated axis with branches, leaflets, or veins arising along both sides like a bird's feather) or bipinnately divided (a leaf that is divided into segments, with each segment divided again into segments twice compound) with leaflets being lance-like to widest at the middle.  Leaf margins are toothed.

The flowers are in compound umbels at the end of flowering stems; bisexual in nature, symmetrical in form; five white petals.  Flowering occurs in the summer months.

Fruit is an ovoid schizocarp (an ovary with two or more seed chambers in which the seed chambers separate at maturity).

It has been reported that a small portion of the plant swallowed can cause death. Extreme caution is advised when handling any part of the plant.

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