This is one of the most poisonous plants that grow in Britain. A great many accidents have been caused by cattle and human beings eating its leaves and roots.
The Hemlock Water Dropwort is common all over the country, and it is in flower most of the summer.
The flowers grow in large clusters at the end of green spokes. They are white, and they have each five stamens with large pink heads, so that from a distance the clusters look pink. There are little pointed green leaves at the back of the flower clusters as well as where the spokes join the main stem.
The seed-vessels of the Hemlock Water Dropwort are a light brown colour, with slight ridges, and they have two little points standing up at the top. You will know this plant by these seed-vessels and by the curious roots.
The stems are tall and straight, with grooves running from top to bottom. They are hollow, and so tough that they are very difficult to gather. The roots are shaped like the fingers of your hand, long, fleshy fibres that grow very thick. These poisonous roots have sometimes been mistaken for Water Parsnips. The leaves are dark green and glossy. They are not fern-like, as are those of so many of the other umbrella plants.
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