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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Cicuta maculata (Spotted water hemlock)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Cicuta maculata

Cicuta maculata L.

Spotted Water Hemlock, Water-hemlock, Beaver Poison

Apiaceae (Carrot Family)


USDA Symbol: cima2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

Smooth, erect, highly branched plant bearing dome- shaped, loose clusters of small white flowers. The sturdy stem is magenta-streaked.

The plant is not related to true Hemlock (Tsuga spp.), but to Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), the plant used to poison Socrates.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Biennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Schizocarp

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Southern Ontario to Nova Scotia; south through New England to Florida; west to Texas; north through Missouri to Canada.
Native Habitat: Wet meadows, thickets, freshwater swamps.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Wet


Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts; roots may be mistaken for wild parsnip or artichoke. Highly Toxic! May be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include muscle spasms, dilated pupils, dizziness, diarrhea, stomach pain, convulsions. Toxic Principle: Cicutoxin and cicutol. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Poisonous: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cicuta maculata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cicuta maculata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cicuta maculata


Record Modified: 2021-07-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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