Cicuta bulbifera (Bulblet-bearing Water Hemlock)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; swamps, fens, along shores, in slow moving water
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in flat clusters (umbels) about 2 inches across arising from leaf axils and at the end of branching stems. Each cluster has about 15 groups (umbellets) of 1/8 inch flowers. Individual flowers have 5 notched white petals, a greenish center, and 5 stamens.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound with 3 or more linear blade-like leaflets. Leaflets are up to 3 inches long, less than 1/8 inch wide, and have irregular, widely spaced teeth, or may be toothless. Stems are branched, hollow and hairless.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of bulblets] Viable seed may not be produced. Tiny bulblets (propagules) form in the leaf axils in the upper part of the plant, and is where this species gets its common name.


This plant is deadly poisonous. The flat clusters of small white flowers is typical of members in the carrot family, but the leaves with fine, very narrow segments, and the spindly look of this plant distinguish it from related species such as Water Hemlock. The bulblets in the leaf axils are a distinguishing characteristic.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Pioneer Park, Anoka County, and Sucker Lake, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Polk counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Cindy J.
on: 2009-05-07 21:35:32

It came up along our shore of Hiner Pond once I killed the reed canary grass and hybrid cattails for a small restoration project. It's pretty in bloom, though someone from the Ramsey Conservation District thought I should get rid of it. What do you think?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2009-05-08 07:10:37

It is a poisonous plant, so if there are little kids wandering around the area I'd consider getting rid of it.

Posted by: luciearl - lake shore
on: 2020-08-04 09:08:56

Growing on the shoreline of Lake Margaret, Lake Shore.

Posted by: Brian - Nicollet County west of St. Peter
on: 2022-09-30 17:00:53

There is a vigorous specimen of this plant growing beside the public water access at the Oak Leaf Lake unit of Swan Lake Wildlife Management Area a couple of miles west of St. Peter. The plant is dying back for the season, and is loaded with mature bulbils that are quite attractive, mostly of a blackish-purple color. I'll post photos elsewhere.

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