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Do you know what an invasive plant is?  It is a plant that is not native to our environment, and one that can cause (or is likely to cause) harm to our environment, economy, and/or human health.  There are several different invasive plants currently in Putnam County and the surrounding area including autumn olive, garlic mustard, Japanese honeysuckle, and poison hemlock. Some invasive plants are hard to identify, while others are easy to locate.  Likewise, controlling invasive species can be difficult and time consuming. 

One invasive plant that is actively growing in Putnam County is poison hemlock. Poison hemlock is a biennial plant that can grow up to 10 feet tall during its second year of life.  During year two, it will bloom. The flowers of poison hemlock are small and white and they are found in an umbrella-shaped cluster on top of the plant.  The leaves are fern-like. Blooming typically takes place during June and July. 

Based on the description above, you probably think this sounds a lot like Queen Anne’s lace or wild cow parsnip, which is correct.  Poison hemlock is commonly confused with those two plants.  You can tell it apart from those by looking at the stem.  The stem of poison hemlock will have purple spots on it. It is important to know how to identify poison hemlock because it is highly poisonous and can be fatal to humans and livestock.  Poison hemlock easily invades areas around roads, streams, trails, ditches, forest edges, and waste areas.  It is well established and widely distributed throughout Indiana.

Besides poison hemlock, there are several other invasive plants waking up from their winter dormancy.  Putnam County Remove Invasive Plants (PC RIP), Putnam County SWCD, Purdue Extension, and the Indiana DNR invite you to attend the Invasive Plant Control Training for Landowners on April 16, 2022.  This event will take place at Deer Creek Fish & Wildlife Area from 9:00 – 11:30 am.  We do ask that everyone register by April 14, 2022 to receive the exact location for the event.  Register here!  The event will take place outdoors and require a lot of walking (no seats will be available). 

During the Invasive Plant Control Training for Landowners participants will hear from Lenny Farlee, Purdue University, and Amber Slaughterbeck, State of Indiana Cooperative Invasive Management.  They will be talking about assessing your invasive plant problem and the three pillars of invasive management. We look forward to an exciting event on April 16th and hope that everyone registers in advance here.

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