(Plate VI.)

Family

Parsley.

Colour

White.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Mostly north, west and south.

Time of Bloom

All summer.

Flowers: minute; numerous; growing in loose, compound umbels. Leaves: compound, the leaflets deeply toothed, or lobed; veined. Stem: three to eight feet high; hollow; streaked with purple. Pools: highly poisonous.

It is unfortunate that so many common names have been bestowed upon this unworthy plant, which is known as spotted cowbane, beaver poison, musquash root, sneezeweed and children's bane. They serve rather to prevent its becoming generally recognised as the deadly water hemlock. Its appearance also is such that it is frequently mistaken for the wild carrot and sweet cicely. The stem, which is streaked with purple, not spotted, as its name, spotted cowbane, would suggest, should be remembered as a means of identification.

Water Hemlock Cicuta maculata 67

Of all the members of the parsley family it is the most poisonous. An aromatic, oily fluid is found in the root and in smaller quantities in the leaves, stems and seeds. Its chemical nature is not exactly known. Every year a large number of human victims falls a prey to this plant, for which there is no known antidote. Growing, as it does, in shallow water, its roots are washed and exposed to view, when it is gathered in error as horse-radish, artichokes, parsnips and other edible roots.