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Watch Out for Poison Hemlock in Wisconsin

There are a wide variety of poisonous plants that are toxic to humans and animals. Some can lead to extreme pain and others can even be deadly. One of these deadly plants is named the poison hemlock.

Poison hemlock flourish in damp environments. It can be found next to fences, roads, near creeks, irrigation streams, and fields. This plant grows in almost every state, including Wisconsin; however, it does not grow in Alaska, Hawaii, or Florida according to the USDA (United States department of Agriculture). As a biennial species, poison hemlock does not reproduce or grow flowers in its first growing season. This is called vegetative state. Poison hemlock is most dangerous during summer and fall time.

The plant first has small clusters of white flowers that eventually develop into “green, deeply ridged fruit that contains several seeds.“ USDA explains as the plant matures, the green turns grayish brown. According to the U.S. Park Service, poison hemlock does not have a very pleasant odor. The plant can be about two to 10 feet tall, according to the National Park Service. Do not mistake the poison hemlock for wild parsnips. Confusing these two plants is the most common reason why people are poisoned.

All parts of the poison hemlock are poisonous, that is including the leaves, stem, fruit, and roots. The toxins of the plant have to be swallowed or enter the body through the eyes, nose, or though cuts in the skin for the poison to become deadly. This is due to the highly toxic piperidine alkaloid that causes respiratory failure.

It is very important to know about dangerous plants like the poison hemlock because it prepares you for the possible threats that might come your way if you come across plants like these. Make sure to keep your eyes open for poison hemlock and other life-threatening plants, for your safety

[Sources: Ohio State University; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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