Fools Watercress - Apium nodiflorum, click for a larger image
Photos ©2006 - Graham Calow
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Fools Watercress - Apium nodiflorum, click for a larger image

Fools Watercress - Apium nodiflorum
Family - Apiaceae / Umbellifrea

A native perennial growing to 90cm (35in) high and commonly found in ponds, marshes, ditches, wet places and slow flowing water in England, Wales and Ireland but rare in Scotland.  Occasionally prostrate growth habit with rooting from nodes in the lower stems where they contact the ground.  The upper stems of the plant are hollow and lightly ridged longitudinally.  Also found across Europe it is widely naturalised outside of its native range.  Shiny leaves of oval toothed leaflets with loose short-stalked umbels of very small white 5-petaled flowers which are opposite the leaves.  The flowers appearing July to August.

Similar to Water Cress and Wild Celery which is shorter at 50cm (19in) tall and more upright with a strong Celery like smell.  Fool's Watercress can also be confused with Lesser Water Parsnip - Berula erecta, which is poisonous.  Lesser Water Parsnip has a distinct ring on the leaf stalk, and also smells quite like Parsnip when the leaves are crushed.

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