Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed
Conium maculatum - Poison-Hemlock
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Family Name: Apiaceae
Common Names: Poison-Hemlock, Deadly Hemlock, Poison Parsley
Origin: Not Native to California
Notes and Rarity Levels (if applicable, see "About This Project" for explainations of rankings): Invasive Weed, introduced from Europe
Habitat: Disturbed locations, generally moist areas. Mostly below 1000 m.
Life Form and Duration: Biennial Herb, 0.5-3 m
Comments on overall growth: Single stem, erect, smooth, hollow, purple streaked or spotted. Taprooted.
Foliage Description: Leaves 15-30 cm long, widely ovate, generally twice pinnate, finely divided much like a fern frond.
Infloresence Description: Flowers in compound umbels.
Flower Description: Flowers lacking sepals. Petals yellowish to greenish-white to white, small, wide with narrowed tips. Flowers with faint unpleasant odor
Flowering Season: March-September
Fruit Description: Ovate, 2-3 mm wide, with bumpy ribs running along length.
Edibility: Highly toxic, contains alkaloids which causes death, concentrated in roots and fruits though is found throughout the plant.
Other Comments: An infusion of Poison Hemlock was given to Socrates when he was condemned to death.