The Poison Hemlock Herb


             Welcome!     File:Gefleckterschierling.jpg

     This webpage is devoted to the knowledge

of Conium maculatum, commonly known as

 poison hemlock.  Throughout this site, you

 will discover more about this species and

 hopefully gain an appreciation for the beauty

 of this plant.




Identifying Conium maculatum


     The poison hemlock plant is usually 120-180 cm high. During the first year of

growth, C. maculatum reaches 45 cm in height, and forms dense stands around the

 parent plants. In the second year, new plants grow from rosettes, with larger leaves

 that are dark, green, bisected, and triangular. The root is long, forked, tuberous,

 and has a pale-yellow color that resembles that of a carrot. The stem is hollow and

is mottled with irregular purple spots, is erect, bright-green and ridged. The leaves

are fern-like and it has flowers that are white and the plant produces a large number

of green fruits, 2 to 3 mm long and about 2 mm wide. Many of these characteristics

 can help to classify this organism.


Why should you care about Conium maculatum?


     C. maculatum actually brings forth quite a paradox with how humans have

 interacted with this species. On one end of the spectrum, the by products of C.

 maculatum's nutritional lifestyle provides us with oxygen. Without oxygen, we

 would die. However, C. maculatum also produces a very toxic chemical that can kill

 humans. In fact, these toxins were once used to kill condemned prisoners! Also, it

 might be startling to know that C. maculatum has adapted to live in close perimeters

 with us. This species covers quite a large range of habitat throughout the United



What is my purpose in making this page? 


     As part of  the organismal biology course at the University of Wisconsin - La

 Crosse, students are required to create and publish a webpage on a particular

 organism just as so. Each year there is a new theme and this year's was poisonous

 and venomous organisms! You can find plenty of other cool organisms from the

 giant pacific octopus to cat fleas, all done by students in years past at


Michael Gonzales

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Bio 203 - Spring 2013

Contact me at                                 Forward to Classification