A non-native plant is spreading across the US and it's here in Texas. This plant is highly lethal if just a little bit is ingested by humans or animals.

A white flowering plant that is often confused with wild carrot or fennel can be fatal to both humans and animals. Poison Hemlock is the potentially deadly plant that is showing up in nearly every state. The foreign plant has been slowly spreading across the US for the last 30 years.

This is the time of the year that Texans begin to see this plant bloom. Poison hemlock blooms twice a year and grows to be about 6 to 8 feet tall. You'll know it as poison hemlock by the reddish-purplish markings on the stalk and its fern-like leaves with small white flowering buds that grow in an umbrella cluster. The plant prefers a moist environment and usually appears along fence lines.

The whole plant is toxic

Be careful around this plant. If you've been exposed to its toxins you'll probably begin to show symptoms within 20 minutes of exposure.

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It's not just the flowers or stalk of the poisonous plant, it's also the stems, seeds, and roots. It contains a toxic alkaloid that can be lethal if swallowed by humans or animals.

How to clear your property of this invasive poisonous plant

Using herbicides on the plant can and will kill it. Or you can go the old-fashioned way and dig it up, roots and all, by hand if the plant is young. Or by shovel if the plant is established and growing. If you choose this method be sure to wear some PPE. Gloves, long-sleeved shirt, safety goggles. You can also mow over it continually and if burning is allowed in your area, you can burn it off, but be cautious of the toxic smoke.

Poison hemlock was introduced as an ornamental plant back in the 1800s. Texas Invasives says the plant was probably used to poison the philosopher Socrates in ancient Greece. Just be alert when you're out and don't mess with this plant if you see it.

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