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Spotted Hemlock Cicuta maculata

Other plants called Spotted Hemlock:

Phonetic Spelling
sih-KYOO-tah mak-yoo-LAY-tah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Water Hemlock is a perennial herb with short tuberous roots and purple-striped or mottled, hollow stems with cross-partitions at the nodes and many of these at the base of the stem.  Its leaves are alternate, clasp the stem, are 2-3 pinnately divided, and have leaflets with the veins ending in the notch between the teeth.  These veins distinguish the Water Hemlock from other members of the Carrot family. 

In its first year, it will be in the form of a low-growing rosette.  Maturing in the second year, it will develop a tall stalk, growing to up to 8'.

The tiny flowers are small, white, and form in umbrella-like clusters.  They bloom from spring to fall, attracting a variety of bee, wasp and butterfly species.  It is a host plant for the Black swallowtail butterfly.

Said to be the plant that caused the death of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates.  

Although all parts of the plant are highly toxic, however, water birds do eat the fruits without effect.  

Site: Wet meadows, thickets, fresh water swamps, roadside ditches, floodplains

Found in: Forest or natural area in wet areas, pond, stream, or ditch banks.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:   HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!  All parts of the plant are poisonous, with the roots more poisonous than the other parts.  Ingestion of a small portion of the roots can be fatal.  The toxin in this plant is called cicutoxin.  It can lead to delirium, nausea, convulsions, stomach pain, vomiting and seizures, all typically occurring within 60 minutes after ingestion.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#native perennials#wasps#herbaceous#NC native#herbaceous perennials#reseeds#naturalizes#self-seeding#pollinator plant#naturalized area#flies#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#host plant#native#butterflies#butterfly#poisonous leaves#butterfly garden#pollinator garden#bees#poisonous stems#aphids
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#native perennials#wasps#herbaceous#NC native#herbaceous perennials#reseeds#naturalizes#self-seeding#pollinator plant#naturalized area#flies#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#host plant#native#butterflies#butterfly#poisonous leaves#butterfly garden#pollinator garden#bees#poisonous stems#aphids
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cicuta
    Species:
    maculata
    Family:
    Apiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Naturalized areas
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Wildlife Value:
    The nectar from the flowers attracts a variety of bees, wasps, flies, moths, butterflies, and a variety of other insects that have short mouth parts. It is a host plant for the Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) butterfly. The fruits that are produced are eaten by water birds.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    All parts of the plant are toxic when eaten.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Each fruit contains 2 seeds. They do not split open when ripe.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Compound umbels can form on the upper portion of the stems. Reaching up to 6", each umbels can have 10-20 dome shaped umbellets. The individual umbellets can have up to 15 flowers. The tiny, 1/8" flowers may have a slight fragrance.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The lower compound leaves are up to 1 ft., doubly divided with veins ending at notches between the teeth. They are smooth, erect highly branched stem. The upper leaves are somewhat smaller than the lower leaves. Individual leaflets are up to 4" long and 1 1/4" wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Purple-striped or mottled, hollow stems with cross-partitions at the nodes and many of these at the base of the stem. May have longitudinal veins.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Muscle spasms, dilated pupils, dizziness, diarrhea, stomach pain, convulsions. Seizures, tremors, fever, bloat, respiratory depression
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cicutoxin and cicutol
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems