Fine Leaved Water Dropwort - Oenanthe aquatica

Scientific Name: Oenanthe aquatica (Apiaceae).

English Name: Fine Leaved Water Dropwort (Umbellifer family).

French Name: L'Oenanthe aquatique.

5 Key Characters:
  • Toxic - be careful not to subsequently put your fingers in your mouth if you handle it .
  • Lower stems very swollen.
  • Stems are hollow with transverse joints and fine longitudinal ridges.
  • Umbels short stalked.
  • Seeds (technically fruit) long and oval - match their appearance in a good field guide.
Lookalikes: Other umbels, especially other Oenanthe spp eg Tubular Water Dropwort O. fistulosa or Corky Fruited Water Dropwort O. pimpinelloides. All the Oenanthe are poisonous, but none have exactly the same combination of key characters. Use a good field guide such as Umbellifers of the British Isles by TG Tutin (a BSBI Handbook).

Habitat: Ponds and ditches, still or slow flowing water. Often in places that go dry over summer. (Note that the one in the photograph above was recorded during the drought of 2011 - and had been accidentally stepped on - by a botanist!)

Flowering Period: June-July-August-September.

Status: Uncommon.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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