Sunday, July 06, 2014

Poison Hemlock Warning Issued For Victoria

Purple splotches on the stem characteristic of this member of the parsley family

An article in the Times Colonist draws attention to the fact that Poisonous Hemlock has been taking root around the capital region. The warning was issued the Royal B.C. Museum.

The plant infamous for killing Socrates was responsible for two people in 2002 spending five days in hospital after mistaking the plant for parsley and using it in cooking. The fact it was cooked before ingested is likely the reason they recovered.

The plant grows in recently disturbed soils and is easily found on construction sites and near developments. It is also found along streams and in ditches and it can invade perennial crops.

I contacted the Coastal Invasive Species Committee at to see if there were any reports of the plant taking root in the Nanaimo area, or other parts of the Island. They reported that they did not have any reports of the plant in this area, but advised that does not mean the plant isn't in the area, simply that it may not have been reported. Caution should be taken with this plant which can be mistaken for edible members of the parsley plant.

If you come across this plant you are advised to contact the Coastal Invasive Species Committee either by phone 250-857-2472 or email


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