Water hemlock is a highly toxic member of the Parsley family. The
first year seedlings resemble wild carrot. The plant stems are hollow
and jointed and the leaves are oblong with sawtooth edges. The flowers
are lacey, in greenish-white, umbrella-shaped clusters.
Water hemlock is highly poisonous to livestock. A single root can
kill a mature cow. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and
should be handled with care. The chambered roots contain an extremely
Water hemlock commonly grows in wet stream banks, ditches, marshes,
meadows, and wet pastures. In British Columbia it is common in wet habitats
in the Kootenay, Okanagan, Thompson, Mainland, Island, Cariboo, Peace
and parts of the Omineca agricultural regions. A similar species, spotted
water-hemlock, is found east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains and north
to the Yukon.
Water hemlock seed is spread by water and wind and can also be
spread by machinery, on clothing, or in transported soil.