Classification Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheophyta
Superdivision Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Subclass Rosidae
Order Apiales
Family Apiaceae
Genus Aethusa
Species Aethusa_cynapium
Fools parsley


Scientific Name: Aethusa cynapium (Aethusa was in Greek mythology a daughter of Poseidon and Alcyone; cynapium [Gr] cyn-dog, apium-celery). Fernald (Gray's ... 8th ed.) suggests that Aethusa is derived from the Greek word aithon (glistening) in allusion to the bright follage.

Common Name: Fool's parsley, Poison parsley

Origin: Alien (Europe-Asia-Africa)

Notes: This plant has not been reported in Iowa, but it has been identified in the states to the East and to the North of Iowa. It contains the toxin (Aethusin) and the plant could be mistaken for Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace), or Cicuta maculata (water hemlock - also toxic, but native).

Additional references:1, 2, 3, 4.

Field Marks for Identification:

Flowers: small white irregular flowers on compound umbels; stylopodia and involucels present; Fruit, schizocarp with pronounced ribs.

Leaves: much divided and ternately pinnate.

Stems: smooth, branched and hollow.

Glossary: Botanical Terms

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