P1010849Cicuta maculata L

Forb/herb; perennial

Native: L48, Alaska, Canada

Blooming:  May, June, white

This is one of the most poisonous plants in the North American continent.  The toxin is cicutoxin which acts directly on the central nervous system, causing violent convulsions and death.  The poison control center should be consulted and medical attention immediately sought if ingestion is suspected. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures will show about 15 minutes after ingestion.  Different people will react differently to skin contact.  Children have been stricken after using the hollow stems as whistles or straws.

Although the flowers produce a nectar attractive to insects with short mouth parts as flies and wasps, other insects such as bees, small butterflies and beetles may be found on the flowers.  The following wasps can be found on the flower heads:  Cuckoo, Chalcids, Braconid, Spider, Paper, Mud Daubers, Eucoilid, Perlampid, Sapygid, Astantinint, Wild Carrot and Velvet Ant (wasps).   The larvae of the Black Swallowtail feed on the foliage.  Mammalian herbivores will avoid it because to ingest the foliage and particularly root (even a small piece) can be fatal.

You will find these plants often with climbing asters, both vying for sunshine on exposed islands of soils on dead tree trunks.  In other areas they may be found with blue flag iris.  This plant should not be confused with poison hemlock (Conium maculatum).

Location: N30 369 W084 33.613′ (2.4 RL), N30 091 W084 33.338′ (1.38RL), N30 260 W084 33.566′ (1.9RL), N30 359 W084 33.668′ (2.34RR), N30 096 W084 33.440′ (1.04RR), N30 00.363’W084 33.667′(2.6RR)