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Oenanthe silaifolia

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Fields, floodplains, meadows, wetland.

White, 5 petals
Flowers are white (sometimes pink), appearing in umbels. The petals are notched at their ends. Usually no lower bracts are present.
Cylindrical fruits, not flattened in shape. The similar looking Corky-fruited Water Dropwort (Oenanthe pimpinelloides) has flattened fruits.
1 to 3-pinnate leaves. All of the leaflets are narrow. Corky-fruited Water Dropwort which is similar in appearance has leaflets which are only narrow at the top of the plant. Usually found in damp meadows on neutral or limy soils.
Other Names:
Narrow-fruited Water-dropwort, Narrow-leaved Water-dropwort, Silaifolia Hemlock Water Dropwort, Silaifolia Water Dropwort.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Oenanthe silaifolia, also known as silaifolia water dropwort or silaifolia hemlock water dropwort, is a species of flowering plant in the Apiaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and typically grows in wet, marshy habitats such as fens and wet meadows. The plant is a perennial herb that can grow up to 1m tall. It has compound leaves with small leaflets and white or pale pink flowers that appear in clusters. The fruit is a small, dry schizocarp, which splits into two one-seeded segments. The plant is considered as a toxic plant and it should not be consumed. The plant is not used for any medicinal or culinary purposes and it is not cultivated for ornamental purpose.


Sulphurwort, or Oenanthe silaifolia, is a beautiful and intriguing plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is also known as Silaum silaifolium and is native to southern Europe and western Asia. The plant is a perennial herbaceous species that can grow up to 1 meter in height. It has fern-like leaves and small, white, umbrella-shaped flowers that bloom from June to August.

Sulphurwort is an important species in traditional medicine, and has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments. It was commonly used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed that it had powerful healing properties. In fact, the name "Oenanthe" comes from the Greek words "oinos" and "anthos", which mean "wine" and "flower", respectively. This is because the plant was believed to have been used to make wine in ancient times.

One of the most interesting properties of Sulphurwort is its high sulfur content. Sulfur is a vital mineral that plays a key role in many physiological processes in the body. It is an important component of proteins, enzymes, and other essential molecules. Sulphur is also a natural detoxifier, and can help to remove harmful toxins from the body.

Sulphurwort has been shown to have a range of health benefits. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive disorders, respiratory problems, and skin conditions. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which means that it can help to reduce inflammation and pain in the body.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Sulphurwort is also a beautiful plant that is commonly grown in gardens and parks. It is a hardy species that is relatively easy to grow, and can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

Sulphurwort is a fascinating plant that has a rich history of use in traditional medicine. Its high sulfur content and range of health benefits make it a valuable addition to any herbal medicine cabinet. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties or simply enjoy its beauty, Sulphurwort is a plant that is well worth getting to know.

Sulphurwort has a unique flavor and fragrance that is often described as spicy and aromatic. This has made it a popular herb in Mediterranean cuisine, where it is commonly used as a seasoning in salads, soups, and stews. The leaves and stems of the plant are edible and can be used fresh or dried. However, it is important to note that the plant can be toxic in large quantities, and should be consumed in moderation.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Sulphurwort is also an important plant in ecology. It is a valuable source of nectar for a range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. It is also a host plant for several species of moths, which lay their eggs on the leaves and stems of the plant.

Unfortunately, Sulphurwort is under threat in many parts of its native range. The destruction of natural habitats and the spread of invasive species have led to a decline in the population of the plant. In some areas, it is now considered to be an endangered species.

Efforts are being made to protect and conserve Sulphurwort and other threatened plant species. This includes the establishment of protected areas, the development of conservation plans, and the promotion of sustainable land use practices. It is important to recognize the ecological and cultural value of plants like Sulphurwort, and to take action to preserve them for future generations.

Sulphurwort is a fascinating and important plant that has played a significant role in human history and ecology. Its unique properties and range of uses make it a valuable addition to any garden, kitchen, or medicine cabinet. However, it is important to use and protect this plant responsibly, and to take action to conserve it for the future.

There are several other species of Oenanthe, commonly known as water dropworts, that are closely related to Sulphurwort. Some of these species are also used in traditional medicine and have similar medicinal properties. For example, Oenanthe crocata, also known as hemlock water dropwort, has been used to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders. However, it is important to note that many species of water dropwort are highly toxic and can be lethal if ingested in large quantities.

Sulphurwort and other members of the Apiaceae family are also known for their essential oil content. The essential oil of Sulphurwort contains several compounds, including limonene, myrcene, and β-phellandrene. These compounds are responsible for the plant's distinctive fragrance and are also believed to have medicinal properties.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of Sulphurwort and other traditional medicinal plants as a source of new drugs. Researchers are investigating the chemical constituents of these plants and their potential therapeutic uses. This could lead to the development of new drugs for a range of conditions, including cancer, inflammation, and infectious diseases.

In conclusion, Sulphurwort is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in human history, ecology, and medicine. Its unique properties and range of uses make it a valuable addition to any garden, kitchen, or medicine cabinet. However, it is important to use and protect this plant responsibly, and to take action to conserve it for future generations. The study of Sulphurwort and other traditional medicinal plants also has the potential to yield new discoveries and advance our understanding of the natural world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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