Poison Hemlock Is Toxic For You And Your Pets

Poison Hemlock Is Toxic For You And Your Pets

Sometimes, the prettiest flowers are the ones that should be avoided at all costs. That is the case with poison hemlock, which is popping up all over the US. While it looks like innocent, pretty white flowers, it is toxic to humans and dogs alike.

Both the flowers and the stem contain a neurotoxin that is lethal if eaten in large quantities. Because of this threat, poison hemlock is a plant you should be able to identify.

This plant can be found nearly everywhere, especially when weather conditions are favorable. It sprouts all over the world, but it prefers a wet and moist environment. Because of that, it usually grows near damp areas in the shade. It can grow up to eight feet tall. The easiest way to differentiate it from other types of hemlock is to look at the stem, which is smooth, hollow, and has purple spots.

Other plants look similar and are just as harmful, if not more. Spotted water hemlock looks identical, just with different colors and patterns of spots on the stem. It is considered the most violently toxic plant in the US, with just two bites being lethal. Giant hogweed is also similar, but it can grow up to 18 feet. Touching it can cause severe irritation, rashes, and even blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes. Queen Anne’s Lace is another similar plant that can cause problems to pets. Even if it’s the least dangerous, you should still stay away from the plant with a small reddish flower in the center of the white petals.

If your pet eats Poison Hemlock, they will experience weakness, drooling, agitation, twitching, difficulty breathing, and even paralysis. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a vet as soon as possible.

Image Credit: The Equinest / Creative Commons

Back to blog