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Secret of the Garden #5

It’s Halloween Weekend, so let’s talk about a plant that is often used in evil ways; a perfect poison.

poison Hemlock

Hemlock is well known throughout history, and in Ancient Greece was used on Socrates as a form of execution. There are two types to watch for; Poison Hemlock (found in Europe) and Water Hemlock (found in North America). This plant is deadly from it’s leaves to it’s roots.

The poison within the Hemlock plant is Coniine, and it will only take a dose of 0.15 grams to kill an adult. The poison works from the outside in, numbing the extremities until it begins to work on the internal organs, paralyzing the lungs causing death. Hemlock looks much like a salad ingredient, resulting in accidental poisonings (or maybe not!)

Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock contains different toxins: Cicutoxin and Cicunol. These will cause violet convulsions, cramps and tremors. If you are able to survive, you will most likely suffer long term damage such as amnesia. This plant is considered the most poisonous in North America.

Care is needed when picking wild plants! Hemlock can easily be mistaken for Queen Anne’s Lace.


I live in a wonderful small town on the coast of Florida and have plenty of access to the beaches and Indian River. I am a proud Christian. I have great son & I married my best friend over 35 years ago. We have 2 cats. I have been in the landscape business for over 30 years and own a small Gardening Service called Botanical Concepts, providing design, installation and maintenance service for niche gardens. I am the author of the fictional cozy mysteries and a writing blog ( I love to read, walk, garden, watch good movies, enjoy nature and love chocolate and a good cup of coffee!! Did I say I like chocolate?

3 thoughts on “Secret of the Garden #5

  1. Just wondering, which side of Florida are you on? My mother in law live on Cedar Key, it’s an hour southwest of Gainesville. I always loved going there to visit her…..


  2. Poison Hemlock is native to Europe, but it’s a common weed in Southern California. When I took a California plant class, a student nearly died from tasting it. As it was, she missed several weeks of classes.


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