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Home » Plant infomation

Cicuta maculata  L.


Botanical Name


Cicuta maculata L.

English Name


Musquash-root , Spotted cowbane, Spotted water-hemlock, Water-hemlock, Spotted parsley, Poison parsnip



Cicuta occidentalis Greene, Cicuta virosa var. maculata (L.) Coult. &. Rose.





General Info


A perennial or biennial herb 2-10 feet tall. It has a tuberous root with 2-8 oblong tubers which are 1.5-3 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick at the thickest point near the middle and stem end. The purple-streaked stems are stout and erect with much branching. The alternate leaves are pinnately 2-3 times compound. The leaves of most species are lanceolate, 2-5 inches long, and sharply toothed. The base of the long petioles clasp the stem. Flowers are white and tiny (no more than 1/8 inch across), have 5 petals, and appear in loose compound umbels at branch ends in mid summer. Umbels measure from 2 to 8 inches across and become somewhat spherical in fruit. Fruits are ovoid and ribbed on the outer surface.

Herb Effects

Cardiotoxic, contraceptive, convulsant, curare, emetic and narcotic (root)


Veterinary Medicine Library



Medicinal Use

The roots have been indicated in treating adenopathy, arthrosis, bruises, breast cancer , fractures, headache, induration, inflammation, lameness, neuropathies, paralysis, rheumatism, scrofula, sores, sore throat, sprains , swellings, tumor and uterosis.


Contraindicated in children.


James A Duke and Maryl Fulton. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs - 2nd Edition, P: 763, CRC Press July 2002.



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