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Common Name: Water Dropwort
Oenanthe sarmentosa is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus that contains a number of very poisonous plants and so some caution is advised. It is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[
Western N. America - British Columbia to California.
Low wet places[
Requires a moist or wet fertile soil in a sunny position.
Plants have a weak straggling growth habit[
Root - cooked[
]. A sweet farinaceous flesh, the root is highly esteemed in the areas where it is eaten[
]. A cream-like taste when boiled with a slight parsley flavour[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Young stem - raw or cooked[
The roots are emetic and purgative[
]. The roots have been crushed then swallowed by a pregnant woman in order to facilitate and speed up delivery[
Whistles can be made from the hollow stems[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring or autumn. Large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.