Herb: Water Parsnip

Latin name: Sium latifolium

Family: Umbelliferae

Edible parts of Water Parsnip:

Leaves - cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Fens and other wet places, often in water, avoiding acid conditions.

Other uses of Water Parsnip:

An essential oil is obtained from the seed.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow late winter to early spring in a cold frame. The seed can be slow to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if they are large enough. Otherwise, grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in the following spring. Division in early spring just before new growth begins. Use the side roots. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Cultivation of Water Parsnip:

Fens and other wet places, often in water, avoiding acid conditions.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Sium latifolium:

The entire plant, and especially the root, is poisonous. There is no firm proof of this.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.