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For all the love of nature: We also have poisonous plants, especially children are best not too close. The plants of this unpleasant species should therefore know parents, for example, the spotted hemlock belongs to them.
Spotted hemlock - backgrounds to the plant
The Stained Hemlock (Conium maculatum) belongs to the umbelliferae family (Apiaceae, for historical reasons the name Umbelliferae may still be used). Like the water hemlock (Cicuta virosa) and the dog parsley (Aethusa cynapium) he is highly toxic. This has given him a certain fame, because the potion of fruits or roots was used in ancient times as an elixir in executions.
The Greek philosopher Socrates came through the hemlock mug after being tried for his supposedly ruinous influence on youth and disrespect for the Greek gods.
The spotted hemlock grows throughout Central Europe, becoming rarer towards the north. In Germany too, it is more likely to be found in the middle and south than in northern Germany. It grows on the wayside and on the edge of the road, on rubbish dumps and on fallow land, but sometimes also on beet tiers, and sometimes it even appears in gardens. Especially if he finds moist clay soil, which is very nitrogenous.
How do you recognize the spotted hemlock?
- Like almost all Umbelliferae it develops from June to September several inflorescences, can be seen then 8 to 20 accumulations of small white flowers (called Doldenstrahlen).
- The leaves are split slightly, similar to that of a full-grown carrot. Like many of his relatives (weevil, meadow bear claw, hedgerow calf, dog parsley) he can reach stately sizes, quite up to 2 meters. Later in the year the umbels produce small fruits that are very similar to those of the caraway or the aniseed. The hemlock can be quickly confused with the above mentioned in the flower, likewise similar it sees the edible wild carrot and the edible greed, which grow however on average much smaller.
- You can see the hemlock well on the stalk, which is longitudinally ribbed and usually covered in reddish frost, in the lower part it looks like red spots. He should also smell intensely for mouse urine. Although most people will be overwhelmed by the classification of this odor note, it is definitely not what we like to smell.
- In addition to the smell the spotted hemlock also warns with its taste: The alkaloid Coniin makes itself felt by burning and increased salivation, the plant should also taste disgustingly bitter.
100 grams of the plant contain 2 grams of alkaloids. The fruits are even up to 3.5 grams. A person is seriously at risk of consuming 40 to 50 milligrams of the poison per kilogram of body weight. A small child with a weight of 20 kilograms would therefore have to eat at least 50 grams of leaves until it is endangered. That's a lot of leaves, it's not going to do that normally. Usually... If little children are allowed to play in the garden unattended for more than 2 minutes, then each mother feels better if there is no spotted hemlock nearby.
Combat spotted hemlock
The spotted hemlock has a root that makes it easy to fight. It grows straight down like a carrot. The hemlock can therefore be made good with vertical spade cuts.
Chemically it can be removed with weed killers, with the usual warnings: Weed killer contains poison, which can also harm humans, and all plants that should not really go away. Whether he acts against the plant that is supposed to go away is not said. Which means can be used where and how must first be determined by looking into the Plant Protection Act (PflSchG).
The spotted hemlock takes a rather prominent place in the list of the most poisonous native plants. It is also said that fingers and children are away from the monkshood and arum, belladonna and autumnal time lilies, pagan louse and thorn apple, pruning cape, poisonous umber and black henbane. Also laburnum, Taumellolch and yew are among the plants that are particularly highlighted in the lists of poisonous plants with three crosses. This small count contains only the plants in which colorful fruits or seeds are particularly inviting to access; it is by no means exhaustive.
Finally, an appeal for (innocent) Umbelliferae: Also many of our vegetables belong in this category, and what would life be without carrots and parsnip, celery and parsley?
Source: Gustav Pabst (ed.): Köhler's medicinal plants in lifelike pictures with explanatory text. Gera 1887.