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Be on the lookout for Poison Hemlock

Poison Hemlock is a plant that is often seen along roadsides, ditch banks, fence rows and around shop or farm buildings.

Hemlock is poison and effects can occur after ingestion or even just touching the plant. To date, there is no antidote.


Recognition of poison hemlock is important for safety and protection, especially in areas where one hikes or participates in other outdoor activities like fishing or kayaking.

It is a biennial weed that appears as a low growing herb in its first growing season. In the second year, it can leap from anywhere between three and eight feet tall. The alternate compound leaves are pinnate and are usually triangular. Poison hemlock is often confused with the nontoxic weed Queen Anne’s Lace (also called Wild Carrot) because both produce clusters of small, white flowers but Queen Anne’s Lace will have hairs along its stem and leaf bases.


The best time of the year to effectively control poison hemlock using herbicides is in the early spring when plants are smaller, particularly when applying herbicides that contain 2,4-D. 

If attempting to remove small areas of the plant manually, be sure to wear proper PPE such as gloves, long sleeve shirts, long pants, closed toe shoes, and protective eyewear. 

Please contact Alex at the Extension Office if you have any questions. 


poison hemlock on rural roadway
poison hemlock on rural roadway
poison hemlock on rural roadway
poison hemlock on rural roadway
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