This Blooming Illinois Plant Looks Pretty, And It Can Kill You
(Quick warning: there are some graphic photos ahead)
It's known by many names; devil's bread, devil's porridge, poison parsley, carrot fern, California fern, winter fern, and others--but you've probably heard the name before.
It's Conium maculatum, or more commonly known as poison hemlock. And it's blooming right now in Illinois.
As for the part about it being able to kill you, if you doubt me, remember what happened to Socrates when he decided it would be cool to chug some way back when.
A Monticello, Illinois Man Has Discovered (The Hard Way) How Nasty Poison Hemlock Can Be
According to a report from WGNTV.com, a man named Michael Leary was mowing down some weeds in a field when he found himself exposed to Poison Hemlock. Apparently, they'd only had a couple of the plants growing nearby last year, but this year Michael says that they're everywhere.
And all it took to rock his world was about 24 hours between the time he cut the hemlock to the point he knew he had a big problem.
“It’s the combination of mowing, knocking it down, cutting it and having the wind blowing,” he said. “It was definitely a combination of inhalation and skin exposure.”
Leary said he did not experience an immediate reaction but the day after he was exposed, he started seeing spots on the top of his feet. Then, it quickly spread across his body.
Here's what it can look like if you suffer skin exposure (Warning: these photos are a bit graphic):
Bottom Line: If You're A Mammal, Poison Hemlock Can Make You Very Ill, And Even Kill You
It's somewhat hard to believe that something that looks so non-threatening can do that kind of damage, but it can. According to HealthLine.com, the symptoms of Poison Hemlock poisoning are:
- burning in the digestive tract
- increased salivation
- dilated pupils
- muscle pain
- muscle weakness or muscle paralysis
- rapid heart rate followed by a decreased heart rate
- loss of speech
- unconsciousness or coma
- central nervous system depression
- acute renal failure