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Cicuta maculata

(Common Water Hemlock)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in English:

Common Water Hemlock, beaver poison, musquash root, Musquash-Root, Poison Parsnip, Spotted Cowbane, Spotted Parsley, Spotted Water Hemlock, Spotted Water-Hemlock, Spotted Waterhemlock, Water Hemlock, Water-Hemlock

Common Names in French:

carotte à Moreau, Cicutaire Macul, cicutaire maculée

Common Names in unspecified:

Spotted Water Hemlock


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Genus Cicuta

Herbs, perennial , stout, glabrous . Rootstock swollen, with transverse air chambers , roots fascicled. Stems tall, erect , hollow, branched above, striate . Leaves petiolate , sheath narrow, clasping , membranous; leaf blade (1 ) 2 3-pinnate; ultimate segments narrow, linear-lanceolate or lanceolate, serrate or dentate . Umbels compound , lax , terminal or lateral ; bracts absent or few, inconspicuous; rays numerous , long, slender, ascending-spreading; bracteoles numerous, narrow, longer or shorter than the flowers. Calyx teeth conspicuous , ovate-triangular. Petals white or greenish-white, obovate or suborbicular , apex narrow, inflexed . Stylopodium depressed ; styles slender, reflexed when mature . Fruit ovoid-globose, rounded at both ends or base cordate, flattened laterally, glabrous; ribs 5, thick, corky; vittae 1 in each furrow, 2 on commissure . Seed face plane or slightly concave . Carpophore 2-fid.

About three species: N temperate zone; one species in China.[1]

Physical Description

Flowers: Bloom Period: June. • Flower Color: near white, white


Size: 36-48" tall.


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,716 meters (0 to 8,911 feet).[2]


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Culture: Space 6-9" apart.

Soil: Minimum pH: 7.6 • Maximum pH: 7.8

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade.

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b. (map)


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Cicuta Virosa Maculata


Publishing author : L. Publication : Sp. Pl. 1: 256 1753 [1 May 1753]

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Cicuta

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 9 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

C. bulbifera (Bulb Waterhemlock) · C. douglasii (Douglas Waterhemlock) · C. maculata (Common Water Hemlock) · C. maculata var. angustifolia (Spotted Water Hemlock) · C. maculata var. bolanderi (Spotted Water Hemlock) · C. maculata var. maculata (Spotted Water-Hemlock) · C. maculata var. victorinii (Spotted Water Hemlock) · C. victorinii (Spotted Water Hemlock) · C. virosa (Mackenzie's Water Hemlock)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 19, 2007:



  1. Du Qin Shu "Cicuta". in Flora of China Vol. 14 Page 77. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Mean = 320.050 meters (1,050.033 feet), Standard Deviation = 348.490 based on 1,039 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-20