Poison hemlock may be found all throughout the United States. It is extremely poisonous, and consuming little amounts of green or dried plants can harm sheep, cattle, swine, horses, and other domestic animals. It is also highly toxic to humans. The plant has small yellow flowers that are surrounded by bristly hairs. The seeds have a blackish-brown coat with white markings.
Of all the species of hemlock, only the western hemlock is considered toxic. The other hemlocks produce non-toxic chemicals that are used in medicine. Children especially should not play in areas where poison hemlock grows because its berries are red when ripe and can look like candy.
If you come into contact with any part of this plant, do not eat it. Call a medical professional immediately if you think you have consumed any amount of hemlock. They can treat you before any damage occurs.
Poison hemlock is commonly found along roadsides, along the boundaries of cultivated fields, along stream banks, and along pasture fencerows. Purple patches or blotches on the plant's hairless, ridged stems are its most distinguishing feature. All portions of the plant are harmful to cattle, horses, swine, sheep, and goats if eaten. Hemlock plants contain a chemical called neocytolysin that is toxic to animals. This compound must be released from the plant cell before it can cause illness in an animal. The release of this toxin is prevented by digestive enzymes in sheep's stomachs. However, if a sheep consumes large amounts of hemlock, enough to kill itself, the enzyme activity of its stomach will not be inhibited and the sheep will become sick.
Sheep will eat anything that humans put into their mouths, with several exceptions: they will not eat cotton, hay, or straw, and they should not be given meat or other protein products unless previously cooked and well-done. Sheep will also refuse certain types of feed such as fresh corn because they want nothing to do with the raw kernels. Instead, they will eat dried corn or corn on the cob that has been shelled but is still in the husk.
If your sheep are free-ranging in a field containing poison hemlock, avoid giving them any more food than they would eat if not exposed to the danger. Let them die if they consume too much of the plant.
Poison-hemlock was introduced to the United States as a garden plant from Europe due of its lovely blossoms. It is making its way onto rangelands. Poison-hemlock grows along roadsides, along the borders of farmed fields, along creekbeds and irrigation ditches, and in waste places. Ingestion of poison hemlock is usually lethal. The plant has spiky leaves that are dark green on the top side and light green on the underside. Its flowers are white with purple spots inside the petals.
In New York City, where it is not natural for it to grow, poison hemlock has been identified in several locations. This suggests that people are bringing in plants wrapped in something that resembles silk cloth to protect them from damage. The city's mayor has asked residents not to plant or distribute poison-hemlock plants.
In Canada, poison hemlock is used in folklore to make poisons. In the United States, it is known to contain toxic chemicals that can be fatal if ingested.
People sometimes take pictures of the flowers of poison hemlock and send them in order to have their love cursed. If you receive such a picture, then your lover will die within a year of receiving it.
In North America, there are three types of poisonous plants: aconite, coral snakes and water moccasins.
Minnesota is under threat. Poison hemlock is extremely toxic. No components of the plant should be consumed since they are harmful to people and cattle. When handling the plant, use gloves. This plant may form thick patches and replace native plants in streams, damp regions, fields, and disturbed habitats like roadside ditches.
People may come into contact with hemlock when hiking or camping in areas where it grows wild. The plant has sharp spines that can cause painful wounds if you touch them. If you do get hurt by hemlock, immediately wash the area with water to remove any chemicals from the plant. Call your health care provider if you feel sick after being near this plant.
In Minnesota, poison hemlock is most likely to be found in the northern half of the state. It is usually present in wet areas near lakes and rivers. The plant provides nutrients for other organisms to grow in its habitat. Where hemlock is removed or burned, soil bacteria used to eating things like nicotine and sarin build up in animals, especially birds. If enough animals die, the bacteria will kill humans too. People who work with hemlock need to take special precautions because the plant's toxins can be spread through contact with skin or inhalation of dust particles.
Hemlock was originally imported to America as a decorative groundcover.