Please ID -- Worried this Poison Water Hemlock!

janet_ann(Z6 (NJ))July 23, 2012


This is the first season (in 15+ years) that I've noticed THIS TYPE of weed on my property.

I actually LIKE it because it is tightly filling in the areas between my stepping stones without letting much else through.

However, a friend warned me it could be Poison Water Hemlock, and I am very worried about it!

I am presuming that its (seeds?) must have "rode in" with the river tide when Hurricane Irene occurred.

It is growing mostly in SHADE, and that spot is kinda of dry back there because it is slightly sloped. It gets some dappled sun from the North.

I doubt it is due to bird seed spillage/growth because I've been feeding those buzzards for 15+ years and saw nothing like this. Also, It is pretty far away from the feeders anyway.

I seems to be ALL smallish leaves, low to the ground, no seed pods (yet?), no flowers, no larger protruding stalks coming out of it. It is just layers upon internal tight layers of smallish leaves.

Can anybody take a stab at this? If this is dangerous, I will certainly take steps to eradicate!

It is REALLY bugging me!!!!!!

Thanks very much in advance!


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Well, I don't know what it IS right off the bat, but I can tell you with certainty that it is NOT water hemlock. Do a Google.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:36PM
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janet_ann(Z6 (NJ))

Thanks "Rhizo 1"

Children & cats play about that area, and it is really good to know that it is NOT Water Hemlock!

I DID Google this a number of times. It looked too low to be Water Hemlock; however I was warned that it starts out low to the ground and then bolts with a flower.

I also tried to look up Wild Carrot; Wild Parsely, etc.

I tried & tried to solve this before I posted here.

I even called the Master Gardener Helpline in our area; and received no return call.

So I arrived here for help.

Thank you! Thank you!

If anybody can take a guess at what it could be, that would be nice -- but as long as I know it is NOT Hemlock -- I am satisfied to leave it in the garden as is.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:02AM
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I think I found it. This has shown up in my gardens and I just pull it out, but your post got me wondering what the heck it is.

I think that it is one of the bittercress family - Cardamine spp., most of which appear to be non-native weeds.

I have attached a link to a picture of C. hirsuta, hairy bittercress, but there are others with similar growth habits of which I could not find a good picture. It is listed in the Rutgers NJ Weed Gallery, but not with a picture of the whole plant.

The Rutgers website ( is great for weed ID overall, though.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:01PM
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janet_ann(Z6 (NJ))

Thanks "lisanti07028"!!

I've attached another pix to show leaf detail.

In my pix the leaves appear more notched and grow in tighter circular layers.

But I'll dig around in the bittercress family pictures to see what I can come up with.

I found one bittercress picture, the leave were same, but the growth habit was entirely different. The space between the leaves were too far, etc.

But I'll keep looking.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:32PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Compare to tansy ragwort, Scenecio jacobaea.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:42PM
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janet_ann(Z6 (NJ))

lisanti07028 -- you are correct.

It is in the bittercress family, and I recognized it once I saw the "Rosette" form in the picture.

Thanks so much for all the help.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:51PM
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