E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Berula erecta (Huds.) Coville
cut-leaved water-parsnip (cutleaf waterparsnip)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5130)

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Distribution of Berula erecta
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The genus Berula is cosmopolitan and monotypic, with only a single species. In North America, it is found in the central and western US states, and in two Canadian provinces (Ontario and British Columbia) (USDA 2011). In BC, it is found in the Okanagan and in the Fraser Valley, where it is rare (Lomer 2011). This is a perennial, stoloniferous species of wet to moist streambanks, ditches and opens areas in lowland, steppe and montane zones in BC.

Lomer (2011) describes it in the Fraser Valley: "This semi-aquatic perennial was collected near Popkum in 1938 (UBC: Glendenning s.n.) and thought to be extinct in the Fraser Valley. It was rediscovered near Cultus Lake by Jamie Fenneman in 2008. It is abundant and dominant in a beaver dam complex on Department of National Defense land (UBC: Lomer 6756). For such a dominant population (at this site), it is surprising that it is not found elsewhere in suitable habitat. So far no other sites have been discovered, despite several searches in suitable habitat nearby, as well as west to Sumas Mt. and east to Hope." Extracted from Botanical Electronic News #432, January 2011, with permission.

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a fibrous root, often forming stolons; stems freely branching, soft, 20-80 cm tall.
Basal leaves soon deciduous; lower stem leaves compound, oblong, scalloped with toothed edges, 6-12 cm; upper stem leaves smaller, narrower, sharply toothed and often irregularly indented; sometimes with submerged, dissected leaves.
Several to many, in umbrella-like clusters; flowers small, white.
Rounded, 1.5-2 mm long, ribs conspicuous.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist streambanks, ditches and opens areas in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; rare in S BC; E to NY and S to FL and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Berula erecta var. incisa (Torr.) Cronquist
Berula incisa (Torr.) G.N. Jones
Berula pusilla Fernald
Siella erecta (Huds.) M. Pimen.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References