Cicuta Douglasii
Water Hemlock  


Water hemlock is a highly toxic member of the Parsley family. The first year seedlings resemble wild carrot. The plant stems are hollow and jointed and the leaves are oblong with sawtooth edges. The flowers are lacey, in greenish-white, umbrella-shaped clusters.

Water hemlock is highly poisonous to livestock. A single root can kill a mature cow. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and should be handled with care. The chambered roots contain an extremely poisonous oil.

Water hemlock commonly grows in wet stream banks, ditches, marshes, meadows, and wet pastures. In British Columbia it is common in wet habitats in the Kootenay, Okanagan, Thompson, Mainland, Island, Cariboo, Peace and parts of the Omineca agricultural regions. A similar species, spotted water-hemlock, is found east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains and north to the Yukon.

Water hemlock seed is spread by water and wind and can also be spread by machinery, on clothing, or in transported soil.


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