How bad could it be?

     Conium maculatum is a poisonous plant that can cause injury or death when it is

 introduced into the body of another organism. Studies have revealed that Conium

 maculatum has at least five recognizably different alkaloids present which includes

 lambda-coniceine, coniine, N-methyl coniine, conhydrine and pseudoconhydrine.

     There is also a difference in which alkaloid is more predominant in the plant

 depending on a few different circumstances. Various factors such as the

 developmental stage of the plant, which part of the plant is being analyzed and

where the plant is geographically located all play a role in determining the different

concentrations of these alkaloids in the plant.

     Throughout the duration of this plant's vegetative growth, lambda-coniceine is of

 the strongest concentration. However, when the plant matures and begins to fruit,

 coniine and N-methyl coniine prevail.  The entire plant is considered poisonous but

 throughout the plant's growth, these alkaloids tend to mass in the seeds, fruits,

 leaves and stem of the plant, with the seeds containing the highest concentration of

 the poison. The peak of this poisonous concentration occurs right before the seeds

 mature. File:Coniin - Coniine.svg

     Pictured to the right is the chemical composition of

 coniine. Coniine is a robust alkaline oil that has no

visible color and is quite volatile. C. maculatum contains

 piperidine alkaloids that are made by the combination of an eight carbon chain that

comes from four acetate units.


Symptoms of Hemlock Poisoning

     Once ingested, Conium maculatum can cause some pretty nasty side effects! A

 victim may feel nervousness and have problems with movement as they begin to

tremble. As you look into the eyes of a victim, their pupils may appear dilated and

you may notice a major increase in their breathing rate. Nausea, a decrease in

body temperature, an increase in frequency of urination and convulsions may

 become apparent as well. Paralysis starts to occur at the legs of the victim and then

 travels upwards in the body until death occurs. The cause of death is that of

 respiratory failure and this all occurs while the victim is still conscious too!


Back to Home                                                                                Forward to Contact Me