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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

Circuta L. -- Water hemlock


Poisonous biennials or perennials, usually with few to many tuberous-thickened roots, the stem often thickened and chambered at the base. Leaves 2-3X pinnate, the leaflets linear to linear-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, irregularly incised or regularly serrate, the primary veins directed toward the sinuses rather than the teeth. Umbels few to many, terminal and lateral, on stout peduncles; rays many, spreading-ascending; involucre usually lacking; pedicels spreading; involucel comprised of several bractlets or rarely absent. Flowers white or greenish, 1-2 mm across; sepals evident, triangular. Mature fruits oval or orbicular, constricted or not constricted at the commissure, the ribs alternating with darker intervals. These plants are highly poisonous to man and livestock. The tuberous roots, stem base and young shoots are especially toxic. Livestock poisoning from Cicuta is more common in the arid w and sw U.S., where grazing animals are attracted to low areas for green forage during dry spells.
References:  

Mathias, M. E. and L. Constance.  1942.  A synopsis of the American 	
     species of Cicuta.  Madrono 6:145-151. 
Mulligan, G. A. 1980.  The genus Cicuta in North America.  
     Can. J. Bot. 58:1755-1767.

Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Leaflets linear, seldom to 5 mm wide; axils of at least the reduced upper leaves bearing bulbils. C. bulbifera
1 Leaflets linear-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, mostly 5-35 mm wide; axils not bearing bulbils. C. maculata


34. Apiaceae, the Parsley Family
2. Cicuta L. -- Water hemlock
1. Cicuta bulbifera L. -- Bulbous water hemlock
2. Cicuta maculata L. -- Common water hemlock


Return to Family -- Apiaceae - The Parsley Family
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