Toxic plant crops up in Salmon Arm

Poison hemlock: Invasive species becoming more prevalent in parks.

Warning: Poison Hemlock can be identified by its smooth stems with purple blotches

A common but highly toxic plant is becoming a cause for concern in Salmon Arm parks.

Patches of poison hemlock have sprung up in Marine Peace Park, McGuire Lake Park and Peter Jannick Park as well as other areas in Salmon Arm.

“All parts of the poison hemlock are extremely toxic, so there is reason to be concerned,” said Robyn Hooper Executive Director of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society.

Hooper said that the plant is so widespread that it is difficult to control, and owners are not required to remove it from their property.

The plant is not native to Canada having originally come from Europe, it now out-competes most types of native vegetation thanks to its prolific seed production.

Poison Hemlock can be identified by its smooth stems with purple blotches, bright green triangular leaves and small white flowers.

The plant gives off a musty odour.

Poison hemlock is a member of the parsley family and can be mistaken for other wild plants such as Queen Anne’s lace and Pacific hemlock-parsley.

Hooper said that poison hemlock can be removed by pulling it up like any other weed, but protective clothing including gloves are necessary and all clothing and tools used should be thoroughly washed. It is important to avoid skin contact throughout the removal process and to not compost the plants.



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