The Druid Herbalist

An ongoing journey with the healing power of plants

Know thy “enemy”…

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Not really an enemy, but a plant to be highly respected.

I recently discovered that water hemlock grows quite prolifically in my area. The confusion that can be had from thinking it one of the tastiest spring forager’s food, Alexanders, can result in death within three hours. It has often been mistaken for wild parsnip as well. It puts the deathcap to shame.

The deadliest plant in Britain – how or why would you want to establish a relationship with it? Well, firstly, to know to avoid it. It will have to be love from afar – you shouldn’t even touch this plant. But as a Druid and animist, I intend to spend some time with this plant, to learn from it and to try and hear its “song”.

When the flowers are out and it is more easily identifiable, I shall go and seek it out, sit near it on a riverbank or ditch, and hopefully learn something more of this plant’s world, its way of being and its nature. I shall respect it with every fibre of my being, but I shall not fear it. It is a part of me even as I am a part of it – we are all made of star-stuff, after all.


Note: If you are unsure of anything you are picking in the wild, WEAR GLOVES to pick it and then take it back to your books/tutor/foraging expert. Ensure that you do not touch it, and do not ingest any of it. If you are not 100% certain and don’t have the right equipment (ie. gloves and something to put it in without touching it), LEAVE IT ALONE, BOW AND WALK AWAY WITH RESPECT. Nature is beautiful and brilliant, dangerous and exciting, and the gods of flora are to be honoured just as much as any other gods existing in these realms.

More information on water hemlock can be found here:

and here:


Author: joannavanderhoeven

A Druid walking down the forest path...

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