spotted waterhemlock
Cicuta maculata L.


Cicuta maculata is usually a large, highly branched plant growing to 8 ft. (2.4 m) tall in wet meadows, swamps, and shoreline thickets. However, they can be medium-sized, scraggly plants growing in floating mats of vegetation.
The leaves are large, often growing to a foot or more long and 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide. They can be bipinnately or tripinnately compound and are alternately arranged on the stem. The leaflets are lance-shaped and have coarse teeth around their margins. The stem is fleshy and hollow and usually has purple stripes.
The flowers are in large, dome-shaped umbels. The flowers are tiny, white, and have 5 petals. The flower umbels are in long stalks that grow from leaf axels at the tips of the stems.
The fruit has the appearance as small, dry and spherical that is 0.25 in. (0.64 cm) long. It ripens in July-September.
Ecological Threat
Many species of aquatic plants have large clusters of white flowers. Some of these plants are considered edible. However, some, such as Cicuta maculata, are extremely toxic to humans and animals, and can cause death.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Invasive Listing Sources

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Cicuta
Subject: Cicuta maculata L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
spotted water hemlock, common water hemlock, poison parsnip, spotted cowbane, spotted parsley, spotted water-hemlock, spotted waterhemlock, water hemlock


Plants - Forbs/Herbs