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Watch for Poison Hemlock as it can harm your kids and animals

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - An invasive plant is spreading across the Ozarks this time of year.

Tim Schnakenberg, MU Extension Field Specialist in Agronomy, said Poison Hemlock could hurt you.

“It is toxic, it’s toxic to livestock, and it’s toxic to humans,” said Schnakenberg. “We have a lot of farms with a lot of poison Hemlock on it.”

Poison Hemlock may be invading your farms and even your gardens. Concerned Gardner, Sara Glassco, said it might even be in your backyards.

“It has got this purple streak, and it is very purple down at the bottom,” said Glassco.

Schnakenberg said if ingested poisonous Hemlock can severely impact your body.

“It affects the central nervous system, and I think even reproductive effects,” said Schnakenberg.

Schnakenberg said effects could show up to an hour after taking, and some of the signs are nervousness and a slow heart rate.

Glassco said she worries for parents and pet owners.

“I’m concerned for my dog and my child that like to play out here,” said Glassco. “I’d also just like to get rid of these plants before they have a chance to flower and spread.”

Schnakenberg said the plant could get up to 6 feet tall, grow white flowers on it, have a pungent smell, and be mistaken for a wild carrot.

Schnakenberg said most livestock would stay away from it, and it will only hurt them if eaten in large amounts.

However, it’s still best to get rid of it before it spreads because it could even hurt crops.

“Starting to show up more and more in pastures,” Schnakenberg. “We’ve even had more and more issues with it and cropland like corn and soybean land, so it’s becoming a growing issue.”

Schnakenberg said a suitable herbicide would kill the plant in a few days, and Glassco said it’s already going away after two days of using one.

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