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Water Cowbane Tiedemannia filiformis

The Water Cowbane (Tiedemannia filiformis) is a common native perennial herb found throughout Florida and coastal areas to Louisiana and North Carolina.  It is found in wet prairies, wet pine flatwoods, bogs, and wet ditches.  Another common name for this plant is Water Dropwort.  It may also be found under an older scientific name, Oxypolis filliformis.  It is a member of the Parsley family (Apiaceae).

This plant has a solitary stem that grows to a height of 3 to 5 feet.  It usually has a few branches near the top.  The stem often appears to be covered with a whitish or bluish waxy coating.  There are a few leaves that are attached alternately to the stem.  These leaves are hollow and do not have flattened blades.  They are greatly reduced in size further up the stem.

The small white flowers are arranged in compound umbels along the upper stem.  One can see that all stems of a flower cluster radiate from a single point at the end of a stalk like an umbrella or “umbel.”  At the end of each flower stem there is another umbel of smaller stems making what is known as a compound umbel.

Each branch of the umbel has 12-22 small white flowers with stalks. Each small flower has 5 white petals, 5 stamens with white or pinkish anthers and a single pistil.  These flowers bloom from late summer to fall.

The fruit produced is oval or elliptic in outline with flat lateral wings.  These plants serve as a larval host for the Black Swallowtail butterfly.

The photos on this page were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County. Additional information on this plant may be found by clicking on the following links:

     Atlas of Florida Plants

     USDA PLANTS Database

      Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center