Fool's-water-cress - Helosciadium nodiflorum

Alternative names
Fool's Water-cress

Low to medium, prostrate to ascending plant, the stems finely grooved, rooting at the lower nodes. Leaves 1 pinnate, with 5 to 13 oval or lanceolate, toothed segments. Flowers white and minute, the umbels leaf opposed, short stalked or unstalked, with 3 to 12 rays. No bracts, but with bracteoles.

Similar Species

Very similar to Lesser Water-parsnip when it isn't in flower, and often confused with it.  Sometimes mistaken for watercress.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

No bracts, but bracteoles; flowers in leaf axils, not terminal.  Unlike Berula erecta, lacks a white ring-mark/ridge around the lower leaf petioles.

Recording advice

Photo of plant in its habitat with details of umbel.


Wet habitats, wet ditches, etc.

When to see it

July and August.

Life History


UK Status

Common in most of Britain, but scarcer in northern England and Scotland.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 461 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is listed as Native, locally abundant 

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map