Scientific name

Oenanthe L.

Common names

water dropwort, water parsley



Could be confused with


Native distribution

temperate regions of Northern Hemisphere

Species commonly cultivated

Oenanthe aquatica (L.) Poir. (Asia, Europe)

O. javanica (Blume) DC. (Asia, Australia)

Adventive distribution

Oenanthe aquatica and O. javanica are introduced into the United States.

Weed status

information not available


emergent, stoloniferous herb

Brief description

Perennial, biennial, or annual. Stems floating, creeping, ascending or erect, frequently stoloniferous, internodes may be swollen if floating. Leaves pinnatisect, bi- to tri-pinnate; submerged leaves divided into capillary or fan-shaped segments. Inflorescence a compound umbel, terminal or axillary; subtending bracts inconspicuous or absent. Flowers small, white; sepals 5, conspicuous; petals 5. Fruit 2 1-seeded mericarps. Dispersal of mericarps by water or animals.

Natural habitat

wet or marshy ground, shallow waters

Additional comments

Some species are extremely poisonous to mammals, being rich in oenanthotoxin.