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Lesser water-parsnip

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Scientific name: Berula erecta
Look out for the white, umbrella-like flower heads of Lesser water-parsnip along the shallow margins of ditches, ponds, lakes and rivers. When crushed, it does, indeed, smell like parsnip!

Top facts

Stats

Height: 0.3-1m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

July to September

About

The Lesser water-parsnip is a perennial, aquatic plant that grows in shallow, clear, flowing water at the margins of ditches, ponds, lakes and rivers.
It can grow quite tall and displays umbrella-like flower heads from July to September.

What to look for

Lesser water-parsnip has loose umbels of white flower heads and grooved hollow stems. Its bluish-green leaves are pinnate with varying numbers of leaflets (3 to 14 pairs) that have toothed edges. A characteristic feature of this plant is the presence of a pale ring at the base of the leaf stalk.

Where to find

Mainly found in lowland England, scarce elsewhere.

Did you know?

As its name suggests, Lesser water-parsnip smells of parsnip or carrot when it is crushed.