Hemlock water-dropwort (not to be confused with its equally toxic cousin hemlock (conium maculatum) is common in shallow water and wet ground throughout the UK, especially ditches, slow-flowing streams and on foreshores. It has been mistaken for wild celery or water-parsnip – be very careful when IDing either of these for eating, or indeed any member of the carrot family. All parts of hemlock water-dropwort are potentially deadly. Look out for distinctive carrot family leaves (3-4 times pinate at base) growing from or near water, strong unpleasant smell when broken (like acrid celery), hairless hollow grooved stem and white swollen roots.
Both foragers and dog walkers should familiarise themselves with the distinctive “dead man’s fingers” of hemlock water-dropwort roots. These are often exposed on river banks or washed up after floods or high tides. Most years they result in the deaths of several dogs around the UK after winter storms.(link)
|Blends in with other plants|