Plants That Look Like Poison Hemlock

If you see plants that look like poison hemlock, it’s important to know what they are. Poison hemlock is an exotic, invasive plant that’s found in many parts of the country and it can be deadly.

It’s a biennial plant and grows from a low-growing rosette in its first year to an upright flowering stem the next. It has a long life cycle and seeds disperse via water, wildlife and soil.


Yarrow is a perennial that can grow in many different climates. Its cheerful blooms are great for attracting pollinators and don’t require fertilization or water.

Ideally, yarrow should be in full sun with well-drained soil. You can plant it in the ground, in a raised garden bed, or in pots.

To keep yarrow from becoming invasive, lift and divide it every few years to control its size. This will help you get the best results from your garden without worrying about yarrow spreading.

Yarrow has long been used in folk medicine to help treat a variety of health conditions. It may help with inflammatory skin problems, indigestion and GI issues, anxiety, insomnia, menstrual symptoms, allergies, and cardiovascular/respiratory disorders.


Angelica is a biennial (having a two-year life cycle), which means it produces foliage in the first year and flowers in the second. However, it self-seeds readily and can continue to produce new plants for several years.

Seedlings can be sown in the fall or early spring on the surface of the soil, allowing for light to germinate. Keep the garden bed moist until the seeds begin to sprout.

The plant has a strong tap root and dense roots that create a lush leaf rosette in its first year. The rosette grows into a tall stalk in the second year.

The leaves are tripinnate, and the inflorescence is an umbel with a single flower at the end of the stem. The flowers are greenish white and schizocarpic, meaning they split into several indehiscent one-seeded portions. The seeds are oval and ripen in late summer. The herb is used as a diuretic and carminative to relieve cramps and stomach pains.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace (QAL) looks a lot like poison hemlock, but they are actually two different plants. It is important to learn how to tell them apart.

QAL is a biennial that grows in a rosette of basal leaves and a tap root. It sends forth a flower stalk the next year, before dying.

You can easily grow Queen Anne’s Lace from seed, and it thrives in full sun and average quality soil. It prefers a location that is well drained, but it will tolerate a little bit of shade.

Its white umbrella-shaped flowers are a great addition to landscaping. The plant is a summer wildflower and can be found growing along roads, bike trails, and other landscaped areas.

Queen Anne’s Lace is edible and has several medicinal properties, including an antiseptic diuretic for kidney conditions, cystitis and prostate problems. It also has seeds that have been used as a contraceptive and are a natural abortifacient.

Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock, commonly called Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata), is a native perennial that grows throughout Florida. It grows best in wet soils along streams, pond margins and ditches.

It produces a rosette of leaves in its first year and flowers in the spring of its second year. Its umbel-like flowers are a white color with five small petals and cluster in an umbrella shape at the tips of branches.

In its second year, this plant forms a clump of thick stems that can grow to three feet tall. It also produces round, ridged seeds that split at maturity.

The roots, stems and leaves of this plant are toxic to humans and livestock when ingested in small amounts. Its cicutoxin acts directly on the central nervous system, causing tremors and seizures that may lead to paralysis and death.