forb, native to Europe, growing 5 to 10 feet tall. Stems are erect,
stout, and purple-spotted with distinct ridges and extensively branched.
Foliage has a strong musky odor.
are borne in many umbrella-shaped clusters, each supported by a
stalk (pedicel). Flowers are white and lacking sepals.
are paired, 1/8 inch long, light brown, ribbed and concave.
green, with the appearance of parsley leaves, growing 6 to 12 inches
long. Lower leaves occur on long stalks that clasp the stem. Upper
leaves on short stalks.
Hemlock occurs on borders of pastures and cropland, gradually invading
perennial crops. All plant parts are poisonous including the large
on wet soils, usually with a water table. It is often found along
ditches, in low-lying waste places, and along roadsides. It tolerates
poorly drained soils.
crops such as alfalfa.
animals are all affected by eating even a small amount of poison
hemlock. The leaves are poisonous in the spring, but have a nauseating
taste. Livestock seldom eat the plant if other plants are available.
Symptoms of poisoning can be violent or chronic, but include staggering,
falling, nausea, bloating, and paralyses.
Poison hemlock can be controlled through grubbing or repeated application
Whistles or snorkels made from the hollow stems of these plants
have caused illness and death in children.