Known As:  (Spotted) Cowbane, (Spotted) Water Hemlock
Latin Name: Cicuta maculata
Description: Tall plant growing up to 7 feet in height from a cluster of 2-8 roots. Red/purple mottling or striping on smooth, branching stems with swollen bases.  Cut stems and roots have an oily, yellowish liquid smelling like parsnips.  Flowers are small white flat-topped clusters at the tips of stems resembling an umbrella.  Leaves alternate on the stem and are composed of three leaflets with multiple leaves on each.
Poisonous Parts:  All parts, especially the roots and stem which contain the toxicant in chambers.  Highly toxic.  Contains Conium alkaloids that are teratogenic agents and acutely affect the nervous system. Animals can be poisoned if they drink water that has been contaminated with trampled roots so be cautious if you see your cat drinking water from an area containing the plant.  The toxin is cicutoxin, a yellow, viscous resin with a carrot-like odor, which affects the central nervous system. The toxic dose and the lethal dose are nearly the same, with a little more than 1 gram of water hemlock per kilogram of body weight able to kill sheep.
Symptoms: Causes convulsions. Symptoms may include nervousness, trembling, breathing difficulty, convulsions, lack of coordination, dilated pupils, weak heartbeat, coma, and respiratory failure causing death. Onset of symptoms occurs 10-15 minutes after ingestion, death can result within 30 minutes of the onset of signs.  If animal does recover from ingestion, it may suffer temporary or permanent damage to the heare and/or skeletal muscle.
Treatment: Contact your veterinarian immediately.