Conium maculatum (Poison Hemlock)

Conium maculatum, common name Hemlock and Poison Hemlock is a member of the Carrot Family, Apeaceae, probably better known as the poison that killed Socrates. It is hard to tell from the pictures, but the plant generally grows from 4 to 6′ high but can grow up to 10 feet tall. The hollow stem is a light green color with very conspicuous reddish purple spots. The compound leaves are a darker, shiny green and almost look like parsley. All parts of the plant as you might imagine are highly toxic to animals and humans.

The flowers grow in an umbel (umbrella like) about 3″ across. The individual white flowers have 5 petals and 5 stamen with yellowish anthers (tips).

In mature form Hemlock is relatively easy to identify. The problems arise because in the first year Poison Hemlock is very hard to distinguish from another member of the Carrot Family, Queen Anne’s Lace.

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2019 ©️Some rights reserved
Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2019 ©️Some rights reserved
Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2019 ©️Some rights reserved

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.