Oenanthe crocata (devil's parsnip). 0. phellandrium, 0. aquatica (fine-leaved water dropwort), 0. phellandrium or 0. fistulosa (common water dropwort), 0. Lachenalii (parsley water dropwort). A member of the plant family UMBELLIFERAE. Annual marsh or water plant with tuberous roots which are spindle-shaped and taste sweet. Stems hollow and grooved; white flowers in umbels, with dense rays. Cylindrical fruits contain a sweet juice.

[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Cattle, (all other species).

[etiology.gif] Etiology
Consumption of the roots exposed after turning the ground whilst dredging canals, digging drainage channels or clearing out ditches. Poisoning relatively frequent.

[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Contains oenanthetoxin, a poison causing convulsions. The entire plant is toxic, especially the roots. Drying reduces its toxicity but does not remove it totally.

Oral doses:
LD in g fresh root/kg body weight:
horses 1
sheep, goats 2
pigs 1.5
dogs 4


[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Gastrointestinal effects

Neurological effects

Effects vary according to amount ingested

If the animal recovers, possibility of sequelae:

[lesions.gif] Lesions

[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
No antidote. Symptomatic and supportive care only:

[labinv~1.gif] Laboratory investigations
Contents of the stomach or rumen to identify the plant material.

Case summaries
A farmer had recently renewed the drainage ditches in a field. Several hours later a cow died suddenly; two others had become prostrate with an increased respiratory rate and engorged jugular veins. Convulsions were also observed in the animals. Despite treatment, the two cows died. Hemlock roots were later found in the contents of the rumen and in the freshly dug soil which had been placed along the edges of the ditches.