Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Poison Hemlock ~

A plant was quickly growing in one of my flower beds.  I didn't think I planted it, but let it grow.  I had taken a few pictures to ask when I went to the garden center, but of course forgot.  I sent the pictures to a couple friends.  One replied it was definitely a weed, the other responded that it was poison hemlock.  Holy hell!!!  I had read an article a few months ago about a gentleman in southern Ohio who was clearing brush.  He quickly became ill and fell into a coma and nearly died.  Long story short, he had been clearing poison hemlock.  After emerging from the coma, he spent months recuperating.  I had completely forgotten the description they gave of the plant.

It's hard to see in this picture, but the hemlock quickly grew to 7'-8' tall.

The flower resembles Queen Anne's lace, though Queen Anne's lace blooms much later in the summer . . . and does not grow this tall.

From the Columbus Dispatch: "One of the most poisonous plants known to man has quietly spread throughout the Buckeye State.

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.) has been on the rise for several years after first spreading throughout southern Ohio. The plant was imported to the United States as an ornamental in the late 1800s from Europe, West Asia and North Africa. Wild plants were relatively uncommon until about 30 years ago. Since that time, poison hemlock has elevated its profile from an uncommon oddity to a common threat throughout Ohio.

This non-native plant is among the most deadly plants on the planet, containing highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds that cause respiratory failure and death in all mammals when ingested. It is the plant that was used to kill Socrates as well as the Greek statesmen Theramenes and Phocion."

DSO came to my rescue and carefully cut it down for me, wearing protective gear.  How very scary that it ended up in my garden, most likely the "gift" of some bird.  I am so thankful my friend recognized what it was.  As stated above, it is now quite common on Ohio roadsides.

Colleen, you are a no reply blogger so I cannot respond to you.  Please send me an email so I can reply.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Pug hugs 😊


Prims By The Water said...

So very scary indeed. It will probably keep moving up and come to us soon. UGH So many plants and animals were brought over here that should not have been and have become invasive now. We have a huge problem with phragmites as they are choking out the native cattails the now. The mute swans which were brought over have made our trumpeter swans move farther North too. Just a couple of invasive species in our area. We have more. So glad DSO was able to remove your poison hemlock. Janice

acorn hollow said...

Interesting! How did you dispose of it? and did you get the roots so it will not come back?
Glad you found out what it was before you tackled it.

Saundra said...

WOW, how scary. I'll have to be more vigilant in looking at my weeds before yanking them up without gloves.

JustGail said...

Yikes - good catch to get that dealt with! I'm glad you posted this - I went and refreshed my memory on what it, and the wild parsnip, look like. I have very few apps on my phone, but I think I will get a plant ID one.

There's so many plants that have been brought over which have turned invasive. Yet so many are still sold in stores!!!! And then there's the things that hitched a ride on or in other things. And the things brought in to try and deal with an invasive which turn out to also be an invasive species. I wonder how many things exported from North/South America turned invasive in other areas of the world?

NMK said...

Wow , this is scary !!! I got poison ivy last year , just ranking weeds I always wear gloves & look closely at the weed I am pulling .....even gardening can be hazardous !!!!

Julia said...

You're lucky you didn't get poisoned with this weed. I'm glad that you found out that it was dangerous. Now you know and thanks for sharing this with us... You can never be too careful... Another dangerous weed is hogweed. It resembles Angelica. After the flood, we had lots of Angelica growing around and I had to look it up online. I just didn't know if it was poisonous or not. I always wear gloves for weeding but do not always wear long sleeves.


marie said...

Scary! I'll have to find out if it's in Alabama. I am alergic to many things so this would be bad in my flower garden. I have the hubs pull out poison oak/ivy when I find it. Take care.

Unknown said...

I live in NE California and it grows in one of my fields. Now it pretty much stays put on the leach field. Before I knew what it was I fed it to the chickens and called it "chicken fern". They loved it and never showed any harm!


TheCrankyCrow said...

Yikes.... So glad you mentioned it to your friend and she knew/remembered. I am always a bit wary as I love Queen Anne's Lace and it looks so very much like hemlock...and I always seem to "remember" things too late these days. Supposedly it is only in the southern part of our state...but that's what they said about rattlesnakes too. 😳 ~Robin~

Farm Girl said...

How scary. Its too bad that its so pretty. We had a plant come up in the garden via birds that was so invasive and grew so fast and was so hard to get rid of. I am glad you are safe and its gone.

WoolenSails said...

That is scary, I would have no idea what that was either. I have tons of weeds and things the birds drop on the lawn, so who knows what I have in the weedy mess.


marly said...

Holy cow. Thank you for informing your readers and showing photos of this. I had no idea but I will certainly be on the lookout since we're only a few miles from Ohio. Yikes!