Poison Hemlock


No other plant on earth has more stories of toxic overdose than

Conium maculatum, commonly called Poison Hemlock.

Starting with the infamous death of the great philosopher, Socrates, Poison Hemlock has been used as a poison of choice for centuries.

The purple spots or bruises along the tall, mature stems is the first dead giveaway that this plant is unlike the rest.

The white flowers may attract infections, pollinators even, but if a human or another animal would eat any part of those pretty white flowers, they could die within 3 hours from Respiratory Paralysis.

This biennial plant loves to grow close to water sources like rivers, streams, and lakes throughout North America.

The flowers are often mistaken for Queen Anne’s lace, another carrot family plant that loves moist soil.  However, this friendly plant does not have the same musty odor that Poison Hemlock will emit, especially in warmer weather.

The green leaves look much like leather leaf plants.  Dense patches can be found throughout most wildlands and parks. The entire plant is toxic to humans and other mammals. Accidental poisoning comes from eating any part, whether fresh leaves, hollow stems, roots, or white flower cluster.

If you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of Hemlock Poisoning, acting fast can save your life. Call 911 or get to the ER at once.

The effects of poison hemlock can last a couple of days.  Not all exposure to this toxic plant will end in a death sentence, but the narcotic-like effects, dizzying effects and health issues that can arise from eating any part of this plant include:


Weak pulse




Heart palpitations

Trouble breathing

Dilated pupils

Poison Hemlock Rash

The alkaloids of hemlock can be fast-acting, the time after ingestion to get medical care is within the hour.

Minutes after ingestion, some sensitive individuals can experience lightheadedness, often the first warning sign of the toxic effects.

Learn how to remove Poison Hemlock from your yard, safely. Burning this plant intensifies the toxic effects of this plant. NEVER Burn Hemlock.