HEMLOCK : Conium maculatum
There are two types of hemlock in Scotland, one is an attractive tree, western hemlock; the other a plant with white flowers. It is the latter that requires great caution.
Hemlock, the plant with white flowers is found widely, but fortunately is not common. But it looks very much like cow parsley, which we do find in profusion.
A tall, upright plant, hemlock can be distinguished by the distinctive and unpleasant, mousy smell of its foliage and its purple-spotted stems. Its leaves are finely divided and large, and its flowers are small and white and appear in umbrella-like clusters. [Wildlife Trusts].
Remember, if you are unsure, don't touch.
Hemlock is deadly!
Hemlock isn’t native to the UK but can be found in most areas. It grows in ditches and riverbanks and in disturbed area such as waste ground and rubbish tips. It is not common in Scotland.
Hemlock is a tall green plant with purple spots on its stem and leaves similar to the carrot plant, it has white flowers. If it is eaten hemlock causes sickness and in severe cases it can kill by paralysing the lungs. [The Conversation].
A poisonous plant, hemlock has a repellent smell when its leaves are crushed, helping to ensure that accidental poisonings don't occur very often - even livestock studiously avoid it. This biennial plant prefers damp places and can grow in huge colonies on waste ground, riverbanks and ditches, but can also be seen along roadside verges. It produces umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of white flowers in June and July. [Wildlife Trusts.
THE CONVERSATION : https://theconversation.com/meet-five-of-the-uks-most-poisonous-plants-33970
THE HEMLOCK SOCIETY : https://www.hli.org/resources/the-hemlock-society/
WILDLIFE TRUSTS : https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/hemlock