Herb: Water Dropwort

Latin name: Oenanthe sarmentosa

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Water Dropwort:

The roots are emetic and purgative. The roots have been crushed then swallowed by a pregnant woman in order to facilitate and speed up delivery.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Low wet places.

Edible parts of Water Dropwort:

Root - cooked. A sweet farinaceous flesh, the root is highly esteemed in the areas where it is eaten. A cream-like taste when boiled with a slight parsley flavour. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young stem - raw or cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

Whistles can be made from the hollow stems.

Propagation of Water Dropwort:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Low wet places.

Known hazards of Oenanthe sarmentosa:

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus that contains a number of very poisonous plants and so some caution is advised. It is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.