Sunday, April 6, 2008

Poison Hemlock

Poison hemlock, conium maculatum, a biennial herb of the carrot family, Umberllferae, is very poisonous and is the plant associated with the death of Socrates. It is native to Europe but now grows wild throughout the New World. Poison hemlock reaches 3 m (10 ft) tall and has smooth, hollow stem that is spotted or stripped with purplish color. Its root is white and carrot like. The leaves, which may exceed 30 cm (12 in) in tiny white flowers are formed into small clusters, which themselves are grouped into multiple dome shape clusters about 5 cm (2 in) across.

Common poison hemlock is a power fully aromatic, notoriously poisonous biennial herb. A drink made from the plant was used by the Athenians to execute the philosopher Socrates.

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