Spotted Water Hemlock - Spotted Cowbane
Apiaceae [=Umbelliferae] (Parsley) Family
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-
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.