Aegopodium podagraria L., goutweed, égopode podagraire
Perennial, spreading by seeds and rhizomes; stems to 3 feet (10 dm) high; flowers white; nearly throughout (absent from drier regions); a plant of pastures, old fields, open thickets and forests, ditches, roadsides and disturbed areas; introduced from Europe as a garden plant. A variegated form is particularly popular in gardens. Text and photos of goutweed by Stephen J. Darbyshire
Carum carvi L., caraway, carvi commun
Biennial; flowers white; stems 1 to 2 feet (3 to 6 dm.) high;
occasional throughout; roadsides, and waste places; introduced
from Europe as a garden plant for seasoning. Often confused with
Cicuta douglasii (DC.) Coult. & Rose, western water-hemlock, cicutaire pourpre
Native perennial herb, spreading by seeds; stems 2 to 6 feet (6 to 18 dm high); flowers white. Occurs along the margins of lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, swamps, ponds, bogs, marshes, springs, and in wet meadows, from California and western Nevada, to British Columbia and Alaska. Very poisonous. Severe poisonings and deaths of humans have occurred after the succulent roots were eaten. All types of livestock have died from eating either leaves or roots.
Cicuta maculata L., spotted water-hemlock, carotte à Moreau
Perennial, spreading by seeds; flowering stems 3 to 6 feet (9 to
18 dm.) high; flowers white; throughout; in wet habitats,
especially near rivers, streams, and lakes; native to North
America. Extremely poisonous to humans; sickness and death are
primarily the result of eating rootstocks. Poisoning and death
has also occurred in all classes of livestock.
Conium maculatum L., poison-hemlock, ciguë maculée
Biennial, with a disagreeable odor; stems up to 6 feet (18 dm.)
high; flowers small, white; a very rare plant that only
occasionally occurs in our area; dry soils, in field borders,
roadsides, and waste places; introduced from Europe. Sickness
and death of humans has occurred after the ingestion of leaves,
roots, or seeds. Poisoning and death of all types of livestock
and teratogenic deformities in calves has been reported.
Daucus carota L., wild carrot, carotte sauvage
Annual or biennial, spreading by seeds; stems up to 3 feet (9
dm.) high; flowers white; nearly throughout; an extremely common
plant in some areas; pastures, roadsides, and waste places;
introduced from Europe and Asia.
Heracleum mantegazzianum Sommier & Levier, giant hogweed, berce du Caucase
Short-lived monocarpic perennial, spreading by seeds; stems 5 to 15 feet (16 to 50 dm) high; flowers white; scattered but locally common throughout except in drier regions; moist areas along stream and river shores, thickets, forest edges and roadsides; introduced from the Caucasus Region. Causes severe contact photo-activated dermatitis in humans and livestock and may also be toxic when eaten.
Like wild parsnip, the watery sap of giant hogweed contains compounds (furanocoumarins) which become highly reactive when irradiated with ultraviolet light. Skin which comes into contact with sap and is subsequently exposed to ultraviolet light, will develop severe dermatitis within one to two days. It is not an allergic reaction and the combination of sap and UV light will always cause a reaction, but both conditions are necessary. In places the stems and leaves are densely covered with long, hollow hairs which contain sap. The hairs are brittle and easily broken by a gentle touch or may even penetrate the skin, thus facilitating contact with sap without bruising or cutting the plant. Should one inadvertently have direct contact with the plant, avoid exposure to UV light (coverup exposed skin or go indoors) and wash with soap and water as soon as possible. Text and photos of giant hogweed by Stephen J. Darbyshire (photo of seeds by Barry Flahey)
Pastinaca sativa L., wild parsnip, panais sauvage
Biennial, spreading by seeds; stems up to 3 feet (9 dm.) high;
flowers yellow; throughout; especially common in moist habitats
in the non-maritime east; pastures, hayfields, ditches,
riverbanks, roadsides, and waste places; introduced from Europe.
Some people develop a dermatitis after handling leaves, stems,
Sium suave Walter, water-parsnip, berle douce
Perennial, spreading by seeds; stems 2 to 6 feet (6 to 18 dm.)
high; flowers white; throughout; swamps, low marshes, and river
and lake shores; native of North America. There is no evidence
of its being poisonous.