Urgent warning over ‘beautiful’ flower which hides a deadly secret – remove it from your garden NOW | The Sun

AN urgent warning has been issued over a "beautiful" flower which hides a deadly secret – Brits are being told to remove it from gardens.

The plant, which looks like a parsnip, could be lethal to humans and animals.

Hemlock could easily kill if it was eaten as it contains fatal toxins.

The toxins grow naturally and include coniine and a gamma-coniceine, which cause muscular paralysis.

Anyone who ingests the harmful plant could end up with respiratory failure – which could lead to death.

Only a tiny amount of Hemlock can prove fatal to a human or to livestock.


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It usually grows in wet, marshy places and is often confused for its non-poisonous lookalikes such as wild carrots or parsnips.

Plant expert Whitney Bromberg Hawkings said: "Water Hemlock, which bears a close resemblance to Cow’s Parsley can be found dotted across the countryside the second the sun comes out, but can also be fatal to animals and humans alike within minutes of ingestion.

"It contains a highly poisonous chemical that is lethal if ingested, not to mention its strong carrot-like odour which makes it a garden foe."

If accidentally eaten, symptoms of poisoning include seizures, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, confusion, weakness or dizziness. 

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The plant was previously found on a beach in Cornwall following a storm.

Joshua Quick, a professional forager, said that erosion caused by the storm close to the beach at Lelant, near St Ives, had caused the deadly plant to tumble down.

He said: "The roots are hemlock water dropwort (oenanthe crocata) and if they are eaten by any dogs or humans they will be fatal.

"They look and smell very similar to parsnips. While they are a beautiful plant, hemlock is one of the most poisonous plants in the northern hemisphere and these roots are highly toxic."


HEMLOCK is a European plant, part of the parsley family with a purple-spotted stem, fern-like leaves, small white flowers, and an unpleasant smell.

It usually grows to between 5-8ft tall with a smooth, green, hollow stem.

All parts of the plant are highly toxic and even small amounts can cause respiratory collapse due to it containing conline – a substance similar to nicotine.

Eating just 0.1g of hemlock is enough to kill an adult human.

Hemlock typically grows near fences, roadsides, ditches, abandoned construction sites, pastures, crops, and fields, where it can be confused with harmless plants.

Condemned prisoners in ancient Greece were killed by being poisoned by hemlock.

The famous Greek philosopher Socrates is said to have died by drinking a hemlock infusion after he had been condemned to death.

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