Recently, a new trend among plant folks has been running wild in comparing the Water Hemlock and the Cow Parsnip due to their similarity.
Continue with the article to clear any confusing buzzes regarding Cow Parsnip vs Water Hemlock to prevent history from repeating itself.
Cow Parsnip & Water Hemlock: Similarities
Often people mistake the Cow Parsnip for Water Hemlock and other alike perennial weeds like Giant Hogweed and Poison Hemlock.
The comparison is usually due to their small umbel-shaped white flowers that grow in clusters nearby swamps and riverbanks.
Meanwhile, both plants belong to the parsley family and come from the temperate zone of North America.
Cow Parsnip Vs Water Hemlock: Differences
Cow Parsnip grows bigger and blooms earlier than Water Hemlock.
Firstly, take the leaf size, as the Cow parsnip leaves extend up to 24 inches wide while the White Hemlock has 4 inches-long leaflets extending up to 1 to 1.5 inches wide.
Further common differences between the Cow Parsnip and Water Hemlock are highlighted in the table below.
|Features||Cow Parsnip||Water Hemlock|
|Leaf Color||Light green with matt finish||Dark green with slightly glossy shine|
|Plant Size||4-10 feet||3-6 feet|
|Blooming Time||April to June||May to September|
|Flower Number||15-30 rays in the umbel structured flowers||10 or more rays in the umbell structured flowers|
|Flower Cluster Spread||12 inches across in diameter||6 inches across in diameter|
|Smell||Pleasant smell (a mix of Parsley and Aniseed)||No smell at all|
|Toxicity||The sap can cause irritation and rashes to the skin as a mildly toxic plant.||All parts of the plant is highly toxic that can be lethal to pets, livestock and humans.|
From Editorial Team
More On Uses & Toxicity!
Cow Parsnip can soothe colds and sore throats, but it has a strong flavor, and some cannot tolerate it.
Though Water Hemlock is used as a medication for migraine headaches and painful menstruation, cicutoxin can severely cause poisonous effects in livestock and humans.