What Does Poison Hemlock Look Like

Identifying the signs of poison hemlock is one of the most important tasks you can do if you want to protect your family. This article provides a few tips on what to look for.


Often mistaken for the wild carrot, poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is an extremely poisonous plant, found in most of Canada and in most of the United States. It is particularly toxic to animals and humans, and its seeds are deadly when ingested.

Poison hemlock is a biennial plant, meaning that it comes back each year. It grows in a variety of habitats including moist or wet soil. It can grow up to 10 feet tall. Generally, it grows in areas where there is not much sunlight.

In the first year, poison hemlock is a small rosette of leaves. In its second year, it grows into a tall flowering stalk. A few leaves may remain from the first year, but most new seedlings will not flower until the following year.

The first true leaves of poison hemlock are smooth and long. These leaves can be up to two feet long. The leaves are triangular in shape, and have a prominent veined underside.

Poison hemlock is toxic to humans and livestock, and the sap is poisonous. When the plant is cut back, it can burn the skin of people who handle it.

The leaves of poison hemlock are fern-like and have purple blotches. They also have an unpleasant musty odor.

The flowers of poison hemlock grow in umbrella-shaped clusters. They resemble anise and fennel. The flowers are white, and are about two inches across. They bloom in late spring or early summer.

The fruit of poison hemlock is green with ribbed surfaces and contains seeds. It matures to grayish brown when mature. The seeds are also toxic to humans and livestock. They pass into milk when animals feed on poison hemlock.


Often mistaken for an edible plant, poison hemlock is a dangerous weed. In the spring, the flowers grow in clusters on the tip of branches. The clusters are umbrella-shaped with four to six brown bracts. The white flower is about two to three inches across.

Poison hemlock is a biennial herb. It starts out as a small rosette in the spring and then produces white umbel flowers in the second year. It can grow up to ten feet high. It produces over 30,000 seeds. The seeds are toxic to livestock.

The foliage of poison hemlock is fern-like, lacy, and compound. It has leaves that are divided into narrow segments. It also has an unpleasant, musty odor, which is associated with some of the alkaloids it contains.

Poison hemlock has a long, white taproot, which is shaped like a carrot. It also has purple or red spots on its stem. It is also known as wild carrot. It grows in a variety of habitats. It is usually found along roads, ditches, or pastures.

It is found throughout North America. It is particularly harmful to livestock and wildlife. The foliage, root, and stem of poison hemlock are all toxic. It is also often confused with wild parsnips.

When poison hemlock is crushed, it produces an odor that resembles parsnips. Its sap is also toxic. It produces furanocoumarins, which cause rapid death of cells when sunlight comes into contact with the sap.

Poison hemlock flowers have five petals. They are about half an inch wide. They grow on clusters that are umbrella-shaped at the tip of branches. The fruit is egg-shaped, and the seeds are small and round. It is grayish brown when mature.


Throughout history, poison hemlock has been used as a sedative and antispasmodic. It has also been used to execute prisoners. The plant was originally native to Europe. However, it has been introduced to other areas. In the United States, it can be found in almost every state.

The plant is also poisonous to livestock. The most common animal victims are cattle and horses. However, goats and sheep are also susceptible. It is important to know how to identify the plant and avoid poisoning.

Symptoms of hemlock poisoning can include paralysis, weakness, and tremors. The condition is very dangerous, and can even lead to death. The symptoms vary with each individual and their level of exposure to the plant. Treatment may include giving intravenous fluids, securing the airway, and decontaminating the gastrointestinal tract.

Poison hemlock is very difficult to spot. It can be disguised in hay, grass, and pasture. It also grows in shady areas. Its leaves are large and glossy, fern-like, and have a spotted appearance. It is a member of the Apiaceae plant family.

The most poisonous part of the plant is the seeds. When these seeds are ingested, they will produce a strong carrot-like odor. These toxins are absorbed through the skin and the respiratory system. They can cause respiratory failure, paralysis, and death.

The first symptom of hemlock poisoning is difficulty walking. Other symptoms include breathing difficulties, nervousness, difficulty moving, and numbness. Treatment may include securing the airway, giving antiseizure medication, and decontaminating the gastrointestinal tract.

Hemlock is particularly dangerous to livestock. It is also very common in roadside ditches and waste areas. It can also be found in the Mountain West of North America.


Among the few plants that can cause life-threatening toxicity is the poison hemlock. It is known for its deadly effects on both humans and animals. It is a member of the Umbelliferae family.

The plant’s toxicity depends on how it is ingested. It is more toxic when it is ingested in young plants. When it is ingested in its mature form, it is less toxic.

The plant contains several chemicals that affect the central nervous system and reproductive system. A toxic dose of the plant can cause an animal to suffer from frequent urination, muscle fasciculations, and ataxia. It can also cause rhabdomyolysis, circulatory instability, and renal failure.

The most common domestic animals affected by poison hemlock include cattle, goats, and horses. Ingesting the plant can cause fatal toxicity. It can be controlled by applying herbicides when it is in its early stages.

The first signs of poison hemlock poisoning include diaphoresis and salivation. The first symptoms usually occur within 30 minutes to two hours after ingestion. Symptoms include muscular weakness in the neck and neck spasms.

Symptoms can also include a rapid pulse and respiratory paralysis. In some cases, a person will die from asphyxia. A person may suffer from permanent paralysis if an overdose occurs.

Its chemical compounds have the ability to cause fetal deformation. It is also associated with cleft palate and skeletal defects.

Poison hemlock contains cicutoxin, a toxic alkaloid that acts as an antagonist of GABA receptors. Cicutoxin also has a potent convulsant effect. It has been reported to cause circulatory instability, joint dislocations, and metabolic acidosis.

Poison hemlock is toxic to all classes of livestock. It has also been reported to cause accidental deaths of humans.


Managing poison hemlock involves control measures that vary by the life stage of the plant. The main focus is to prevent seed production.

Herbicides are effective against poison hemlock. Some of the most effective include dicamba and 2,4-D. The herbicides should be applied when the plants are seedlings or rosettes. The best time to control poison hemlock is in the fall or early spring.

The University of California’s Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (SIPM) provides guidelines on how to control poison hemlock. In addition, there are herbicides for use by residential users.

To control poison hemlock, you may need to dig or mow the plants. To dig, you will need to remove the entire tap root. Alternatively, you can pull the plant by hand. If you are planning to pull the plant, it is important to wear gloves and protective clothing. You will also need to shower to remove the sap.

If you do not want to use herbicides, you can control the plant by digging it out by hand. You should be careful to handle the plant in a manner that is unremarkable. This is especially important if you have children or livestock.

Poison hemlock grows into a very tall plant. It has a hollow stem that is hairless. Its leaves have a triangular shape and are made of multiple leaflets. The plant has purple blotches on the stem.

Poison hemlock produces an odor that is unpleasant to humans and livestock. When animals ingest small amounts of the plant, it can affect the flavor of their milk. Its alkaloid compounds also have a negative effect on the central nervous system and respiratory system of animals.

In addition, it is highly toxic to humans and livestock. It takes about four pounds of leaves or seeds to kill a horse. Typically, livestock will not eat poison hemlock unless there is little else for them to graze.