Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) blooming near the Truckee River, Mayberry Park, June 2015. Photo: K. McCutcheon.
Considered a noxious (harmful) weed in Nevada (USDA, 2015), poison hemlock was introduced from Europe and is now common along the banks of the Truckee. The fern-like leaves, lacy white flowers, stems, roots, and seeds are all extremely poisonous. They say that this is the plant that the ancient Greeks used to put prisoners to death, including Socrates (Vizgirdas & Rey-Visgirdas, 2006). Poison hemlock blooms from May – July and grows to eight feet tall (Blackwell, 2006).
Blackwell, L. R. (2006). Great Basin Wildflowers. Guilford, CT: Falcon Press.
USDA. 2015. Plants profile for Conium maculatum, Poison Hemlock. USDA Plants Database. Accessed 6/6/2015.
Vizgirdas, R. S., & Rey-Visgirdas, E. M. (2006). Wild Plants of the Sierra Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada Press.