This poisonous plant can kill you and it’s all over NJ
I can’t even tell you how many old movies would reference “hemlock,” that always feared, rarely seen pretty little wildflower that is actually quite lethal.
And now, it’s being found in New Jersey and all over the country.
There’s not a state in the country that doesn’t have poison hemlock growing in it.
I’ve seen warnings about this everywhere on social media. People have forwarded things to me on Facebook that scare the daylights out of me. And my NextDoor app, a sort of community bulletin board where people share advice and information, is filled with little snapshots of hemlock and stories about people in the neighborhood who have come in contact with it.
Basically, it looks like an ordinary weed but poison hemlock is one of the most dangerous plants on the planet.
Something innocuous with a little pretty white flower on it resembling Queen Anne’s lace. Google it if you need to. Because if you pick some of it or walk through it and shake the dust around and inhale it you can actually get pretty sick.
Symptoms can begin showing as early as 30 minutes after ingesting the plant. But even touching it can cause symptoms— from COVID-19 symptoms to full-blown lung and or a heart failure.
The borough of Watchung, N.J., released a “hemlock poison plant advisory” last Friday warning residents that the lethal weed is spreading into backyards and public parks.
And if you think you have come in contact with it these are some of the symptoms you should look out for:
The best way to prevent any poisoning from hemlock is to remove the plants. But I would leave this to the experts. You’ve got to remove the entire root because if you cut or mow mature hemlock plants like plants they can re-sprout or emit toxic fumes
You can also use herbicides to kill hemlock plants, but they are useless after hemlocks have sprouted flowers. The best time to use herbicides is in the late fall or early spring, right as the plants begin to grow.
Experts also warn that if you must interact with poison hemlock plants, make sure you wear gloves facemasks, and protective clothing and wrap up any plants in plastic or place them in plastic bags and then immediately throw them in the trash.
There is no antidote to hemlock poisoning. But if you come in contact with poisonous hemlock, doctors will be able to treat each specific symptom if you seek medical attention.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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