Saturday, July 18, 2009

water hemlock, cowbane, musquash root, beaver poison, Wasserschierling

Recently, I have noticed large water hemlock or cowbane plants on Manitoulin Island,
East Point Park and Glen Rouge Park, Toronto.

The water hemlock best known in North America is C. maculata, also known as cowbane, musquash root, or beaver poison, which grows to about 2.5 metres (8 feet) tall. It has divided leaves and clusters of white flowers. It grows in wet meadows, along streambanks and other wet and marshy areas.

The flowers are small, white and clustered in umbrella shaped inflorescences typical of the family. An oily, yellow liquid oozes from cuts to the stems and roots. This liquid has a rank smell resembling that of parsnips, carrots or mice. The plant may be mistaken for parsnip due to its clusters of white tuberous roots.

The yellow resin contains cicutoxin, which disrupts the workings of the central nervous system. In humans, cicutoxin rapidly produces symptoms of nausea, emesis and abdominal pain, typically within 60 minutes of ingestion. This can lead to tremors and seizures.

A single bite of the root (which has the highest concentration of cicutoxin) can be sufficient to cause death. In animals the toxic dose and the lethal dose are nearly the same. One gram of water hemlock per kilogram of weight will kill a sheep and 230 grams is sufficient to kill a horse. Due to the rapid onset of symptoms, treatment is usually unsuccessful.


Der ausdauernde und stark giftige Wasserschierling (Cicuta virosa) ist eine Pflanzenart aus der Familie der Doldenblütler (Apiaceae) und neben dem Gefleckten Schierling (Conium maculatum) und der Hundspetersilie (Aethusa cynapium) eines der giftigsten Doldengewächse.

Sämtliche Pflanzenbestandteile des Wasserschierling sind stark giftig, insbesondere die durch Luftkammern schwimmfähigen Knollen. Die Giftigkeit wird durch Polyine, insbesondere das Cicutoxin, verursacht. Nach Verzehr bereits geringer Mengen kann der Tod infolge Atemlähmung eintreten. Nach einem alten preußischen Gesetz sollte die Pflanze wegen ihrer Giftigkeit ausgerottet werden.

Source: Wikipedia and Britannica

Visiting beautiful Manitoulin Island, Ontario

With rain in the forecast we are leaving Manitoulin Island to drive back to Toronto.

Just in case :-)

The day before we ordered fresh and smoked Lake Trout from by Purvis Fisheries from the Purvey's Brothers !!

The Mississagi Lighthouse is located at the western tip of Manitoulin, some 12 km. from the village of Meldrum Bay. Built over 115 years ago, the lighthouse guards the treacherous Mississagi Straits. Now serving as a museum and restaurant, this working lighthouse gives glimpses into the marine history of Lake Huron. The building is furnished as it was for the lighthouse keeper and his family of one hundred years ago.
Picture bottom left shows Mennonite women in very lovely cotton dresses.

hello from Manitoulin Island...

Wikwemikong remains the only unceded Indian Reserve in Canada
The Great Spirit Circle Trail encompasses eight First Nation communities on Manitoulin Island and the Sagamok region in Northeastern Ontario, Canada.

Beautiful Manitoulin Island is a unique scenic region, where Native life and legend meld with European history
to provide an unforgettable holiday experience.
The island town of Manitowaning was the first European settlement.