Dropwort, or Oenanthe, L. a genus of perennial plants, con-si-ting of seven species, five of which are indigenous ; among these " the following only deserve notice :
1. The fistulosa, or Common Water Dropwort, which thrives in meadows, ponds, and ditches ; and flowers in July. Its, naked stalk grows only 12 inches high. The plant is refused by cows and horses ; though, from experiments made in this country, it does not appear to be noxious to the former. Bechstein, however, affirms that in Germany this species of the drop-wort is a poisonous vegetable, and has been found to produce dangerous effects on man and dogs: its root, therefore, which spreads ex-tensively in a swampy soil, ought to be carefully extirpated.
2. The crocatu, or Hemlock Water-Dropwort, or Dead-tongue, which grows in watery places, on the banks of rivers, and in ditches. Its reddish thick stalk attains a height from 3 to 5 feet. AccordingtoDr. Withering, the whole of this plant is deleterious; and Dr. Pulteney remarks, that the root is the most virulent of all the vegetable poisons that Great Britain produces; many instances of its fatal effects being recorded. Unless the contents of the stomach, after eating any small portion of this root (which is sometimes mis-taken for wild celery, or parsnip) be immediately emptied by briskly operating emetics, there is no other chance of saving tile patient's life; because it speedily produces convulsions, madness and death.
As a medicine, however, an in-fusion of the leaves, or three tea-spoonfuls of the juice of the root, taken every morning, has in one instance cured a very obstinate cutaneous disease : though we advise such trials to be made only with ani-mals. - According to Mt.Gough, the country people in Westmoreland apply a poultice of the herb to the ulcer, which is sometimes formed in the fore part of the cleft of the hoof in horned cattle, and is termed the foul. - The inhabitants of Pembrokeshire call this plant, the five-fingered root: it is much used by them in cataplasms for the felon, or the worst kind of whit-low. - Sheep eat the leaves of this vegetable, but they are refused by cows and horses.