Water Hemlock

Cicuta maculata

Water Hemlock


Water hemlock is native to the east, but is occasionally planted in bog gardens. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the roots resemble wild parsnips, so are the usual cause of poisoning. One mouthful of the rootstock is sufficient to kill a grown man. These plants grow only in wet or swampy areas. The cicutoxin acts directly on the nervous system, usually within thirty minutes to produce salivation followed by violent convulsions which distort the body and cause grinding or clamping of the teeth. There is dilation of the pupils and delerium. Abdominal pain and vomiting commonly occur. Death occurs due to paralysis and respiratory failure. It should be considered very dangerous.