Definition of water hemlock in US English:

water hemlock


  • A highly poisonous plant of the parsley family that grows in ditches and marshy ground.

    Genus Cicuta, family Umbelliferae: several species, in particular the North American C. maculata (also called water hemlock (see cowbane))

    Also called cowbane
    • ‘The roots of water hemlock, which resemble parsnips, are sometimes eaten accidentally by humans.’
    • ‘Like Homo sapiens, animals take important cues from smell and know to stay away from flowers like the dreaded Douglas water hemlock, whose broad white blossoms contain coniine, which is deadly.’
    • ‘The lower part of the stem of water hemlock is divided into chambers which contain its toxicant.’
    • ‘Often water hemlock is supposed to have a purple tinged stem - naturally my specimens didn't.’
    • ‘Although water hemlock was found in the grass field, it was difficult to confirm that water hemlock had been ingested.’