Water Parsnip

Sium latifoliumThis parsnip has an erect ribbed stem around one meter tall. In the upper part, several branches issue from the stem. Each ends in a cyme, similarly to dills or parsley. The smallish flowers with white petals appear in July-August. The plant is poisonous!

The parsnip grows along the shores of overgrowing lakes and bayous. The short rootstalk with thin white roots and the lower part of the stem are almost always submerged.

The plant has two types of leaves. The submerged leaves are dissected into thin and small doles. They are yellowish green with pink stalks. The dark green surface leaves are comparable to the complex leaves of ash or mountain ash. Yet, these are simple leaves sectioned into 4-6 pairs of serrate plates.

In the fall, the surface part of the plant dies, and the rootstalk winters in the riverbed. In the spring, new annual shoots issue from the buds in the rootstalk.

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