cowbane

cowbane

[kou-beyn]
noun
any of several poisonous plants of the parsley family, as Oxypolis rigidior, of swampy areas of North America, or the water hemlock, Cicuta maculata.

Origin:
1770–80; cow1 + bane

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World English Dictionary
cowbane (ˈkaʊˌbeɪn)
 
n
1.  Also called: water hemlock any of several N temperate poisonous umbelliferous marsh plants of the genus Cicuta, esp C. virosa, having clusters of small white flowers
2.  a similar and related plant, Oxypolis rigidior of the southeastern and central US
3.  any umbelliferous plant reputed to be poisonous to cattle

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

cowbane

any of several poisonous plants, including seven species of Oxypolis, in the parsley family (Apiaceae), that are especially poisonous to cattle. The plants grow in marshes and are widely distributed in North America. They have clusters of white flowers surrounded by bracts (modified leaves). The most common species is O. rigidior, which is also called water-dropwort. Several species of Cicuta are also called cowbane (see water hemlock).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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