Reaching up to 3 metres tall, Poison Hemlock can be identified by its smooth purple and red blotched stems and bright green triangular fern-like leaves that give the plant a lacy appearance. In its second year, the plant will produce small white flowers contained in clusters that form an umbrella shaped head. This plant is also known to have a distinctive “musty” smell. Can be confused with Queen Anne’s Lace, Cow Parsnip, Water-Hemlock and Gray’s Lovage.
All parts of this plant are highly poisonous if consumed. Dead plants including leaves, roots and stems can remain highly toxic for years. These toxins can also be absorbed through the respiratory system and skin with prolonged contact. If you suspect that your child or pet has eaten Poison Hemlock,call the BC Poison Control Centre (1-800-567-8911) or your veterinarian.