Most of the time, weeds are just a visual annoyance that take away from the beauty of a well groomed garden, however identifying poison hemlock can help you keep your yard beautiful and safe. We don't often think of weeds as being dangerous, but some can have chemical properties that can harm people and animals. Poison hemlock can be a harmful weed in any area, and with a little knowledge, you can rid your property of the malignant weed.
Poison hemlock can grow to be fairly tall, reaching heights between 1.5 and 2.2 meters. It does not often droop, but stands erect. To identify it, begin by examining the roots. They are white or yellowish, and fleshy. They do not branch but have a tap root system. The stems are smooth with no hairs or fuzz, and are green. They can also be hollow and branching. If you look closely, you can see purple spots, commonly found near the bottom of the stem. The leaves resemble a fern. Poison hemlock will have white clustered flowers, each with five petals. The flowers themselves are 10-15 cm in diameter, but can grow larger.
Poison Hemlock can often be found along fences, ditches, and roadsides, or in field where it can root in moist ground. Poison Hemlock is biennial, which means it takes two years for the flowering plant to complete it's life cycle. After the seeds take root, it produces fernlike leaves close to the ground during the first year. The second year it shoots up, and spreads out flowers. This is when the flowers will develop into white with green seed capsules. At this time the plant will emit a distinctive mousey odor.
Keep a look out for these characteristics to help you identify poison hemlock and rid it from your yard.