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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poison Hemlock Warning!

I just learned about poison hemlock. I want to share things as I learn here, so others can learn too. Hemlock is one of the most poison plants, an extract from which Socrates died.

I think most folks know what Queen Anne's Lace is. I thought everything I have ever seen that looks like Queen Anne's Lace was in fact Queen Anne's lace. WRONG.

Be aware of hemlock. All plant parts are poisonous. I read a story about someone picking berries for jam, and her husband had seeds that had fallen into his bowl of berries. She asked to see where he'd been picking and it was hemlock seeds that had fallen into his bowl! This jam was destined to be sold to folks. They dumped the berries and went elsewhere to pick. She was very smart to check anyway and be aware.

Queen Anne's Lace. Nice smooth green stem, typical flowers. Non-poisonous. Used in ancient medicinal remedies: the seeds being used as a contraceptive; the young root being edible. Also referred to as wild carrot.

Here is poison hemlock:

Posion Hemlock
Originally uploaded by Dale Hameister

Purple-spotted stem. Flowers similar to Queen Anne's Lace.

Also water hemlock:

Notice the purple stems and the shape of the leaves.

Water hemlock has been listed as one of the most poisonous North American plants. American Indians used it to poison their arrow tips.

Interesting links
10 Plants for your Pets to Avoid
Queen Anne's Lace
Poison Hemlock - Weed of the Month


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