Information on Cowbane

Common Name: Cowbane
Scientific Name: Cicuta virosa
Irish Name: Fealla bog
Family Group: Apiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Cowbane could sometimes be confused with:

Angelica, Wild,

Mainly found in the northern half and the centre of Ireland, roughly from County Westmeath up, Cowbane is one of the members of the Apiaceae or Carrot family which is extremely  poisonous. It is an erect and hairless perennial plant which can grow to 150 cm tall and is usually found in shallow water, ditches, margins of lakes and slow-flowing streams. The flowers are white (3 mm across) with oval calyx teeth and in domed, bractless umbels (8-13cm across). The plant has a ridged, hollow stem and quite distinctive dark green 2-3 times pinnate leaves which have hollow stalks. The narrow lobes are strongly toothed. The fruits are globular, with blunt ridges and prominent styles. This is a native plant and it blooms in July and August.  

I have not seen this species in the wild, as yet, but attended a workshop on the Apiaceae family and it was there that I took the photographs of specimens. The excellent workshop was given by Paul Green, BSBI Vice-county Recorder for Waterford and Wexford. It was run by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre