Conium maculatum* /Parsley Family
Danger - Poisonous
(INN) Rank 2
Poison Hemlock is a wildflower and should not be confused with the evergreen hemlock tree. This is a very common roadside plant which is often found in large masses near ditches and wet areas. It looks like Queen Anne's Lace on steroids! Unlike Queen Anne's Lace though, it is deadly poisonous; the chemical responsible is coniine. All parts of the plant are poisonous and most domesticated animals are affected. This plant was responsible for the death of Socrates. The symptoms of Water Hemlock poisoning are horrible: convulsions, vomiting, weak pulse, paralysis, and eventually, coma, followed by death. The purple spotted stem is a good identifying trait for this plant (the species name "maculatum" means "spotted"). Notice the insects on the flowers.
Where seen:Oak Ridge Greenways, Warriors' Path SP, widespread