Danger: Poison Hemlock Found in Southeast Minnesota

(St. Charles, MN) – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is warning residents about the dangers of poison hemlock, which has been found in southeastern Minnesota and may be in other parts of the state.

Poison hemlock is a toxic member of the carrot family and if ingested, Minnesota Poison Control should be called immediately at 1-800-222-1222. If the individual is unresponsive or having trouble breathing, call 911.

People have also reportedly been poisoned by handling the plants.

Poison hemlock can grow up to eight feet tall. The flowers are small and white with umbrella shaped clusters on the tops of stems, and it is currently in bloom in parts of the state. The stems are hairless and have purple blotches. The plants emit an odor. The flowers of poison hemlock look similar to wild carrot and water hemlock. However, the fern-like leaves and purple blotches on the stems of poison hemlock distinguish it from these related species.

The weed has been recorded in isolated pockets of Minnesota, most recently in the southeastern part of the state. It appears to be spreading quickly in the St. Charles and Lanesboro areas.

If residents suspect they have found poison hemlock, take a picture of the plant and email it to arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us, or they should contact their local University of Minnesota Extension office.

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Top photo credit: Paige Filler/Flickr.

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