Apiaceae (Carrot Family)
A hardy lakeshore perennial of shallow water, growing up to a height of 1.8 m.
Distinguishing Features - Leaves: alternate, oblong to ovate, divided into 11 to 15 leaflets; leaves under water, divided into thread-like or linear segments; leaflets lanceolate, pointed tips, tapering to base, sharply toothed, >12.5 cm long and 5 cm wide. Flowers: white or greenish-white, >1.7 cm wide, in a compound umbel; 5 independent petals, >9 mm long; 5 green sepals, minute or absent; 5 stamens; pistils, ovary inferior, smooth. Fruit: oval, with several prominent vertical ribs, 4 mm long; ripening July to September.
Native; Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to Florida, Texas, and California; on edges of ponds and lakes; in shallow waters; also wet woods and thickets, swamps, river banks, meadows, and roadsides.
The stems and leaves of the Water Parsnip are highly toxic and can kill animals. Since it's often difficult to clearly distinguish members of the Apiaceae family from one another, it's best to be cautious when handling these plants.
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