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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Oenanthe sarmentosa

Pacific Water Parsley

Flowering Period: May, Jun, Jul May June July
Flower color: white
Full sun Mostly sunny Partial sun Mostly shady
Wet soil


At a Glance: Semi-aquatic, often reclining or scrambling herb, with stem tips ascending or curled and small flat-topped clusters of white flowers.

Height: Up to 40 inches (1 meter).
Growth Form: Herb.
Stems: Fibrous and succulent, but usually weak and soft, developing a dark red tinge late in the season.
Leaves: Celery-like odor and shape; 2-3 times coarsely pinnately divided, oblong to egg-shaped in outline; leaflets toothed and cleft with primary veins directed to teeth tips; size: leaflets 1-6 cm; color: green.
Flowers: Tiny flowers in 5-20 compact clusters on 1-3 cm long stalks subtended by 0-few, narrow, leafy bracts; primary color: white, sometimes pink tinged; size: small; shape: compound umbels.
Flowering Period: May, June, July.
Fruits: Mature late summer; ribs broader than narrow intervals; shape: barrel; size: 2.5-3.5 mm long by 2 mm wide; color: maroon.

Oenanthe sarmentosa
Photo © 2003, Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
Shade or sun.

full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
OBL (obligate wetland)
low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Saturated year-round. Occupies lowest or wettest areas of wetlands.
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Other Wildlife: Used as spawning vegetation by Red-legged frog and Northwestern salamander.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Medicinal Uses: Used as a laxative, stomach medicine, and a headache medicine.
Food Uses: Tubers were cooked and eaten.
Toxicity: Is reputed to be toxic, due to its resemblance to water-hemlock which is very poisonous..

Ecological Importance: Produces significant above-ground biomass, growing very densely, and therefore can be useful in slowing water flow to enable sediment settling. Tolerant of replanting, making it useful in wetland restoration in shallow aquatic settings.

Name Info: Some species of the genus were used in Greece to flavor wine so Oenanthe comes from the Greek "ionois" (wine) and "anthos" (flower). When the stems touch or lie on the ground they send out long runners from the nodes, which is described by sarmentosa.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.