Apium nodiflorum - Fool's watercress

Fool's watercress is really nothing like true watercress if you look at it closely. Nor does it taste anything like watercress. However it grows with watercress and is very much the same colour with leaves that are a similar shape (but different in structure) so it can easily be picked in error.

However it is not poisonous so can be eaten - if you happen to like the strong flavour!

Apium nodiflorum however can very easily be confused with Berula erecta (lesser water parsnip) which is generally considered poisonous. However if it is poisonous, it is very mildly so, for there are reports that the leaves can be eaten. Perhaps the easiest way to tell what you are picking is to crush a leaf: berula erecta smells of parsnip. Apium nodiflorum does not. The two plants tend to grow in different places - berula rarely grows with true watercress.

The first photo shows a bed of mostly fool's watercress, but with watercress mixed in. You have to look quite closely at the full-size photo to tell the difference! The second photo shows the difference more clearly and the third shows the structure of the two plants, when the differences become clear.


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Page first published 15th November 2016.
Last modified: June 19 2017 12:10:02.
Written by and © Richard Torrens
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