Pacific water parsley – Oeanthe sarmentosaAlong SHADOW’s boardwalk trail you may find a creeping herb that closely resembles your typical grocery store parsley. However, the parsley found in the bog, Pacific water parsley (Oeanthe sarmentosa), is not the tasty herb you use to garnish your meals. In fact, Pacific water parsley is reported to be poisonous, carrying toxins that would cause an upset stomach. Even though this plant may not make a great addition to your plate, it is beneficial to wetland habitats, including Shadow Lake Bog.  

Pacific water parsley is a perennial herb, boasting a flat-topped cluster of 5-20 tiny white flowers that bloom May to July. In March, you may only spot the glossy green leaves, which are bi-pinnate and lacey-looking, with leaflets having a sharp, toothed margin. These leaves are commonly used for spawning vegetation by native amphibians like red-legged frogs and Northwestern salamanders. 

This species has soft, weak stems that curl at the tips. When the stems of water parsley touch the ground, they send runners out from their nodes and spread along shallow wetlands habitats, producing dense above ground biomass. This can make it useful in stabilizing the soil by slowing down water flow to trap sediment in wetland areas. Water parsley is beneficial to plant for restoration efforts because it is tolerant of replanting and easy to start by seed!
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Water Parsley

Oenanthe sarmentosa