bulbet-bearing water hemlock

(Cicuta bulbifera)

Conservation Status
bulbet-bearing water hemlock
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
  Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Bulbet-bearing water hemlock is a 12 to 40 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on one or more stems from several fleshy, tuberous roots. The foliage has a foul smell.

The stems are erect, occasionally branched, slender, light green or reddish-green, hairless, hollow, and often covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous). They may be green or purple. Mature stems are green with purple spots or stripes. The base of the stem is enlarged.

The lower leaves are alternate and are divided into 3 segments. Each segment may be again divided into 3 sections. Each ultimate section is divided into usually 3, sometimes 5 leaflets (pinnately compound). The lower leaves are up to 6 long, up to 4 wide, and on long leaf stalks, becoming progressively much smaller, less divided, and on shorter leaf stalks as they ascend the stem. The uppermost leaves are stalkless and sometimes undivided. The leaf stalks form a sheath at the base that wraps around the stem. The leaf nodes are purplish.

The ultimate leaflets are narrowly lance-shaped, green, hairless, ¾ to 3½ long, and no more than 3 16 wide. They are often folded upward along the main vein. The margins have widely-spaced, ragged teeth, or are sometimes cut about halfway to the midrib into narrow lobes. The radial veins of the leaflet extend to the notches between the teeth, not to the tips of the teeth as in other members of the carrot family. There are clusters of stalkless, egg-shaped bulblets in the axils of the upper leaves.

The inflorescence is a compound, umbrella-shaped cluster (umbel) at the end of the stem and branches. The umbel is round, 1 to 2 in diameter, and has 8 to 20 slender, ½ to 1 long branches (rays). There is no bract at the base of the umbel. At the end of each ray is a smaller, secondary, to wide umbel (umbellet). There are 11 to 19 or more individual flowers in each umbellet. The umbellet is not subtended by bracts.

The flowers are about wide and are composed of 5 green sepals, 5 white petals, 5 white stamens, 2 styles, and an ovary. The petals are rounded, erect to spreading, and notched at the tip. There is no fragrance.

The fruit is dry, 1 16 to long, egg-shaped to globular capsule containing 2 seeds. These are the previously mentioned bulbils in the upper leaf axils. They ripen from August to September, splitting into 2 one-seeded segments.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

12 to 40

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  In water hemlocks (Cicuta spp.) the radial veins of the leaflet extend to the notches in the leaflet, not to the tips, as they do with other members of the carrot family.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Wet. Marshes, streambanks, lake shores.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

July to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  12/28/2011      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Apiales (carrots, ivies, and allies)  
  Suborder Apiineae  
 

Family

Apiaceae (carrots)  
  Subfamily Apioideae  
  Tribe Oenantheae  
 

Genus

Cicuta (water hemlock)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bulb waterhemlock

bulbiferous water-hemlock

bulblet water-hemlock

bulblet-bearing water hemlock

bulblet-bearing water-hemlock

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Ray

A strap-shaped flower, or the strap-shaped portion of a flower, in the Asteraceae (aster) family. A branch of an umbel in the Apiaceae (carrot) family.

 

Umbel

A flat-topped or convex, umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers or buds arising from more or less a single point.

 

Umbellet

A secondary umbel in a compound umbel.

       
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