Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a critical plant for any gardener or forager to know how to identify for safety reasons. I encourage all of my students to learn how to identify all poisonous plants that grow in the area before starting to forage because there are fewer poisonous plants than edible ones, making them easier to learn.

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Leaves: Fern-like, finely divided, toothed on edges and have a strong, musty odor when crushed.

Flowers: Tiny, white, in a circular cluster on the ends of branched stems.

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  1. […] Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is highly toxic and looks slightly similar. After experience, however, you won’t confuse these two plants. In the beginning, be sure to smell yarrow to memorize the smell. Also, remember that a poison hemlock stem is covered in reddish or purple spots and 3 to 4 times larger than yarrow and much wider with multiple branches as well. . […]

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