Parsnip, Water

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Parsnip, Water

otanical: Sium latifolium
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae Synonym: Water Hemlock.

Sium latifolium, the Broad-leaved Water Parsnip, is another of the umbelliferous plants sometimes called Water Hemlock. It occurs in watery places all over the British Isles. The long creeping root-stock of this and the somewhat smaller, closely allied species S. angustifolium is poisonous, but pigs and oxen eat the stem and leaves without harm. However, cows in milk should not be allowed to eat it, as it communicates a disagreeable taste to the milk.

Both species are easily recognized by their pinnate leaves, the leaf-stalks carrying about six to eight pairs of ovate, toothed leaflets. The umbels of white flowers are flat and have a general involucre composed of broadish or lance-shaped bracts, and there is also an in volucel. The fruit bears slender ribs. Theerect, furrowed stems are from 3 to 6 feet high.