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Poison Hemlock, Water Hemlock

3311 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jross
Well I found what I thought could be poison hemlock in one small corner of the goat pen. It's in a low area that tends to stay very wet. So I headed out and started to pull each to get the roots and all. My small patch turned into a large patch when you are doing such work. I pulled all that I could and think I did a very good job. Disturbingly it had been nibbled on but thankfully no sick goats. I was looking through tall grass down to the roots to get it all. Not fun in the rain but probably helped with the pulling of it since the ground was soft. After I pulled all that I could see I weed wacked the area to get the grass low and hopefully dry the area out. Also I figured I would be able to see it easier if I missed a spot. I'll keep a close eye on the area. I'll need to figure out how to get some fill down there and get that corner built up to remove the plants want to live there. Unfortunately I found another area outside the goat pen that I will have to tackle another day soon since I don't want it to spread. Hopefully this will be enough but if I have to spray the area I will. I just figured that if I killed all in one area the weeds you don't want tend to come back first with a vengance. :shock: Here are a few images of the poison hemlock in the area outside the pen. Its the one with the white flowers and fern like leaves. There are several look-a-likes with this plant and I'm not 100% positive this is poison hemlock but figured it was to close to not get rid of.


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How tall did it get? It looks like it is probably water parsley which gets up to about 2 feet tall and will sort of spread out sideways more than upward. Water hemlock will get taller up to 8 feet. These two plants can be hard to distinquish though and they like the same damp areas. If you got down to the root system dig some of the roots out. Cut them open and if it is water hemlock they should have a yellowish-brown liquid inside (highly poisonous so wash your hands). Another way to tell the difference is that the sideveins of the leaves lead to notches, not to tips at the outer margin.
I have water parsley in damp areas all around my place. The goats don't eat it. To be on the safe side you might still want to pull it out or find out for sure what it is. If you cut it way back and expose the roots or when the new growth comes back, those would be the most toxic parts though if it is water hemlock.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Wow I think you are right. It's not very tall, maybe 2 ft or a bit taller in places where the flower head has to grow through something tall. It does spread laterally spouting roots at each segment of stem along the ground. I've had trouble confirming this plant and was worried about the chance of it being poisonous so decided to get rid of it. I have cut open the root and no brown liquid. I was told to look for chambers in the root. I have seen my goats eat this and I've ran them away and tried to get it out of their mouths. Mostly they pay it no attention to it with all the other browse around. Thank you soooo much! I think I will still pull the area outside the fence since it is right along the fence line and I need to clear anyways but I won't be so worried about a goat getting a bite.
Here is a wikipedia page about poison hemlock.

Here's wikipedia about water hemlock.

Here's a page from the University of Idaho. Good pics here. ... mlock.html

And here's a very beneficial plant called Osha, that looks a lot like it.

I harvest Osha in the very high country nearby. It is promotes health in your mouth, throat and lungs. The good thing about it is that it has a very strong and distinct smell. Even tho it looks a lot like poison hemlock it's easy to tell when you've found Osha, just by the smell.

I find that, since animals like bears, elk, deer, etc relish it, it tries to hide in rough, steep, places among rocks and downed tree trunks. It is found near water, but not right in it. It is found in the high country of NM, AZ, UT, and CO. When I am harvesting it, I have to chase my goats off, or they will eat it.


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