SWeston's picture

Expert on poisonous plants/plant identification

I am the editor of a magazine about horses. I have received an article about Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata), and want to advise readers how they might go about getting this formally identified on site (given that there are so many similar plants). Apart from suggesting people could come on here, where else might they go?



anonymous spotter's picture

Plant identification -

In most locations, there are some of likely sources of knowledge: however they may be cautious about giving guidance if there is any risk of an animal being poisoned due to an error!
First, there is the local Wildlife Trust - these vary in manpower/resources, but are often a good start. Second, there is the BSBI (Botanical Society of the British Isles), who may have local group. Then there is the RSPB - whose main raison d'etre is birds, but who may well have a plant expert in captivity. Your local council may also have a Ranger Service, who may be able to help.
I'd like to add an important point: people should not go around removing plants unless (a) they are absolutely sure of the species, and (b) livestock is directly at real risk of poisoning. Oenanthe crocata is not especially common (there are distribution maps on the internet), and cases of poisoning are rare.

SWeston's picture

Thanks Roger, that is really

Thanks Roger, that is really useful information and good advice. I would like to include it within the article if you don't mind. The original siting was in the New Forest so it sounds as if I could go to the National Park Authority or the Forestry Commission for help then as they have rangers. My landlord, who is an historian, verderer and commoner is pretty sure in this instance and the author of the article has also given a positive identifiaction. Once the article has come out should I park it on here too?

anonymous spotter's picture

Article -

a link to it would be good, I think.

anonymous spotter's picture

Have a look at -


It's interesting, and it notes that animal fatalities seem most likely to occur when the roots - the most toxic part - are exposed due to ditching work.
There is no specific treatment for animals. A vet can administer an anaesthetic to help control the convulsions.