Poison Hemlock

This toxic weed could be growing in your backyard!
Remember the old story about Socrates drinking a cup of Poison Hemlock? Deadly stuff to be sure!

Poison Hemlock is easy to spot due to its lacy foliage.
Poison Hemlock is easy to spot due to its lacy foliage.

This same invasive weed grows wild along roadsides, creeks and wooded areas in the northeastern United States, as well as other areas in the world. By the first week of June, many Poison Hemlock weeds have reached 8-feet tall (2.4 meters) and blossomed.
Some people confuse the flowers with another weed, Queen Anne’s Lace.
Some people confuse the flowers with another weed, Queen Anne’s Lace. Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms are “flatter” and less rounded.
Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms are “flatter” and less rounded.
All plant parts of Poison Hemlock are extremely poisonous, especially the seeds. One plant can produce as many as 30,000 seeds! Due to the toxicity of Poison Hemlock, bodily contact should be avoided. By early June, Poison Hemlock can easily reach 8-feet tall (2.4 meters)
By early June, Poison Hemlock can easily reach 8-feet tall (2.4 meters)

Since the plant is a biennial (2 year growth cycle) the best way to control its spread is to eliminate it before it goes to seed. Herbicides can be used for control, in addition to cutting or pulling, but be sure to read and follow label instructions. AVOID all bodily contact, protecting your skin and eyes. Purple blotches on the green stems aid in identification of Poison Hemlock.
Purple blotches on the green stems aid in identification of Poison Hemlock.
Great care should be taken when handling plant parts since they remain poisonous for years after being cut down. Keep out of the reach of children, livestock, pets and wildlife.

SUMMARY:
Poison Hemlock – Conium maculatum • All plant parts are extremely poisonous to livestock and human beings, so avoid contact. Plant parts can remain toxic for years.
• Brought to US from Europe in 1800’s
• Biennial herb grows 8 to 9 feet tall
• White blossoms in late Spring
• Purple blotches on hollow stems • Especially invasive along stream banks
• One plant can produce 30,000 seeds
• Control by pulling, mowing (wear eye and skin protection) or herbicides (read and follow label directions). Keep out of the reach of children, livestock, pets and wildlife.
JAPANESE KNOTWEED:
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