Herbs and Other Plant Species of the World's Boreal Forests

World Boreal Trees

Terminology | Pictorial

Conium maculatum
Poison Hemlock
Apiaceae (Carrot Family)

An annual or short lived perennial, growing to a height of 10 - 35 cm.


Poison Hemlock Distinguishing Features - Leaves: pinnately decompound; lower petioled, upper sessile, all finely dissected into segments, ovate in outline, dentate or incised; lower leaves: blades 15 - 30 cm long; compound, many-rayed umbels, rays 1.5 - 4.5 cm long; Flowers: white; multiple bracts, inconspicuous; Fruit: broadly ovoid, flattened laterally, glabrous, 2 - 2.5 mm long; ribs prominent when dry; oil tubes obscure, irregular.


Native of Europe and western Asia; introduced to North America as a garden plant; common and spreading in parts of Canada and the United States, particularly on the West Coast; in sizable stands of dense growth along roadsides, field margins, ditchbanks and in low-lying waste areas; also invades native plant communities in riparian woodlands and open flood plains of rivers and streams.


Poison Hemlock is a member of the carrot family Apiaceae which includes mainly hollow-stemmed aromatic herbs with fern-like leaves.

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