The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Water Parsnip
Sium suave is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
The stems and leaves of this plant are toxic and will kill livestock[
]. There is no conclusive proof of this, based on native North American Indian usage it is likely that the roots and stems are edible, though the flowering tops might be poisonous[
Northern N. America to N. Asia in China, Japan, Korea and Russia.
Meadows, wet thickets, muddy banks etc[
]. Swamps and wet areas in Texas[
Prefers a light, rich, moisture retentive soil in full sun[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. Crisp and delicious[
], it has an agreeable nutty flavour[
]. The root is considered to be edible in the spring and the autumn but it so closely resembles some very poisonous plants that it should be considered unsafe to eat[
The aromatic leaves are used as a relish[
]. Some caution is advised - see the notes above on toxicity[
An infusion of the crushed root has been used as a poultice to bring relief from the pain of a broken limb[
A decoction of the roots has been used by women in the treatment of epilepsy[
Seed - sow late winter to early spring in a cold frame. The seed can be slow to germinate[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if they are large enough. Otherwise, grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in the following spring.
Division in early spring just before new growth begins. Use the side roots[
]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.