Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) - parsley family
 

WeedsPoisonous PlantsHay Fever
Gerald A. Mulligan (Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, retired)
Click here to go to Weed Photos for this family

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 wild carrot.

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, or seeds.

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.

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Weed Name Photo Weed Name Photo
goutweed, égopode podagraire
(variegated & non-variegated)
goutweed, égopode podagraire
(plants)
goutweed, égopode podagraire
(flowers)
caraway, carvi commun
western water-hemlock, cicutaire pourpre
(herbarium specimen)
spotted water-hemlock, carotte à Moreau
spotted water-hemlock, carotte à Moreau
(F&M)
spotted water-hemlock, carotte à Moreau
(herbarium specimen)
spotted water-hemlock, carotte à Moreau
(herbarium specimen)
spotted water-hemlock, carotte à Moreau (NC)
water-hemlock seeds
(top, northern; middle, western; bottom, spotted; from Mulligan, Canadian J. Botany 58: 1755-1767, 1980)
poison-hemlock, ciguë maculée
poison-hemlock, ciguë maculée
(F&M)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(many umbels of white flowers)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(along edge of road)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(winter)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
wild carrot, carotte sauvage wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(general view)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(seedling, FF)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(closed mature umbel)
wild carrot, carotte sauvage
(open mature umbel, seeds exposed)
giant hogweed, berce du Caucase
(plants)
giant hogweed, berce du Caucase
(hairs)
giant hogweed, berce du Caucase
(seedlings)
giant hogweed, berce du Caucase
(seeds)
giant hogweed, berce du Caucase
(dermatitis)
water-parsnip, berle douce wild parsnip, panais sauvage
wild parsnip, panais sauvage wild parsnip, panais sauvage
wild parsnip, panais sauvage wild parsnip, panais sauvage(in field)
wild parsnip, panais sauvage
(in fruit)
wild parsnip, panais sauvage
(in fruit)
wild parsnip, panais sauvage
(seedlings)