Poison hemlock blooming in western Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH —
Poison hemlock, an invasive and dangerous plant, is blooming in the western Pennsylvania area. The plant is poisonous to both people and animals.

Experts say poison hemlock has a smooth, hollow stem and can be identified by purple spots on its stems. It tends to grow near meadows and streams.

Dwight Lingenfelter, an extension associate at Penn State Extension specializing in weed science, said the plant has toxic properties, primarily if it is ingested. He said that in general, most people are not allergic to poison hemlock just by coming in contact with it. Some people may experience skin irritation if they touch it.

According to experts, you can easily dig out poison hemlock with a shovel or pull it out with a pair of gloves.

If there is a lot of it, use of a herbicide that is non-lethal to animals recommended.

Besides the Skin Irritation – some will experience allergy symptoms, such as irritation of the eyes, and lungs. Keep your pets away from the Hemlock as it will kill them, if ingested.

Here’s what it looks like: