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Fine-leaved Water Dropwort

Oenanthe aquatica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Ditches, marshes, meadows, ponds, riverbanks, water, waterside, wetland.

White, 5 petals
The flowers are appear clustered together in tight umbels, 2 to 4cm across. Short-stalked and usually no bracts. Pollinated by beetles, flies and bees.
The fruits are narrowly oval, about 4mm long.
A tuberous perennial with glossy hollow stems. The leaves are 2 to 4-pinnate with sharp-pointed leaflets. The leaflets are very narrow and fern-like. Hairless.
Other Names:
Fineleaf Water Dropwort, Water Dropwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Oenanthe aquatica, also known as Water Dropwort or Fine-Leaved Water Dropwort, is a species of flowering plant in the Apiaceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and is found in wetlands, damp meadows and riverbanks. The species has a hollow stem and its flowers are white with a yellow center. It is poisonous and is often used in traditional medicine for treating a variety of ailments.


Fine-leaved Dropwort (Oenanthe aquatica) is a fascinating herbaceous perennial plant that is commonly found in the damp meadows and marshes of Europe and Asia. This plant is known for its delicate, fern-like leaves and delicate white flowers, which bloom in clusters in the late spring and early summer.

Dropwort is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of conditions, including wet soils and poorly drained areas. It is well-adapted to its wetland habitats, with a strong root system that helps it to anchor itself in the soil and resist erosion.

In addition to its ornamental value, Fine-leaved Dropwort has a long history of use as a medicinal plant. Historically, it was used as a tonic to treat a variety of ailments, including indigestion and fatigue. The plant's roots and leaves contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects, making it an effective remedy for digestive problems.

Despite its many benefits, Fine-leaved Dropwort is considered to be a threatened species in many parts of Europe, due to the loss of its natural habitats to agriculture and urbanization. It is important to conserve and protect this plant, both for its ecological and cultural significance.

Overall, Fine-leaved Dropwort is a unique and fascinating plant that is well worth exploring. Whether you are interested in its ornamental value, its medicinal uses, or its ecological significance, there is much to admire about this delicate and hardy plant.

Fine-leaved Dropwort is a valuable plant for wildlife, providing food and habitat for a variety of species. The delicate flowers of the plant attract a wide range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant's leaves are a food source for many species of caterpillars, while its seeds are eaten by birds such as finches and buntings.

In addition to its benefits for wildlife, Fine-leaved Dropwort also has many cultural uses. In traditional folklore, the plant was believed to have protective properties, and was often planted near homes to ward off evil spirits. It was also used in love spells and as a remedy for heartache.

Despite its many benefits, Fine-leaved Dropwort is considered to be a threatened species in many parts of its native range. This is due to the loss of its wetland habitats to agriculture, urbanization, and other human activities. Conservation efforts are needed to protect this plant and its habitats, in order to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy its beauty and benefits.

In conclusion, Fine-leaved Dropwort is a unique and valuable plant that is well worth protecting. Whether you are interested in its ornamental value, its medicinal uses, or its role in supporting wildlife, this plant is an important part of our natural and cultural heritage. By conserving and protecting Fine-leaved Dropwort and its habitats, we can help to ensure that this plant continues to thrive for generations to come.

Fine-leaved Dropwort is a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of settings, from naturalized meadows and marshes to cultivated gardens. It prefers damp, poorly-drained soils and can tolerate a range of soils, from sandy to clay. The plant can grow in full sun to partial shade, but it prefers cooler and damper conditions.

In gardens, Fine-leaved Dropwort can be used as a focal point in damp areas or as a ground cover in damp borders. Its delicate leaves and clusters of white flowers provide a light and airy contrast to other plants, making it a popular choice for gardeners.

One of the best ways to protect and conserve Fine-leaved Dropwort is by planting it in gardens and other cultivated areas. By creating new habitats for this plant, gardeners can help to ensure its continued survival, even as its natural habitats are lost to human activities.

In addition to planting Fine-leaved Dropwort in gardens, there are many other ways to support this plant and its habitats. For example, you can support conservation organizations that work to protect wetlands and other habitats, or participate in local conservation efforts. You can also be mindful of your own activities and take steps to reduce your impact on the environment, such as reducing water usage and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals in your garden.

In conclusion, Fine-leaved Dropwort is a valuable plant that deserves our attention and protection. Whether you are a gardener, conservationist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and importance of nature, there is much you can do to help this plant thrive. By taking action and raising awareness about Fine-leaved Dropwort and its habitats, we can help to ensure that this plant will continue to be a part of our world for many years to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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