The Spotted Water Hemlock and its close relative the Poison Hemlock are truly what nightmares are made of.

Imagine a death so terrible that drowning or dying in a fire would be like a walk in the park.  More on that in a minute.

Both of these plants can be found in North Dakota and are very dangerous to livestock, wild animals, birds, horses, sheep, and humans.

Water Hemlock as the name implies grows in the wetlands.  The plant has a purple stem with small white flowers and a pungent aromatic order, according to an article from Prairie Public NewsRoom.  All parts of this plant are dangerous.  Even breathing in the particles can cause sickness.  Back in the day, some people were poisoned because they mistook the roots of Water Hemlock for horseradish.  Other people were poisoned for mistaking young plants for parsley and using the leaves in their favorite soup.  Yikes, reason number 100 not to eat soup.  I'm not a big fan of soups in general.

Getting back to what it's like to die from hemlock.  The symptoms aren't pretty.  Your bowels feel like they are going to explode, violent convulsion, dilations of the pupils, frothing at the mouth, along with the shredding of the tongue with your own teeth, then you will grind your own teeth down to nothing and finally ending in death.  You know what else is nice, there's no medical known antidote.  Doctors will try to treat it by purging the stomach of its contents.  Only a few lucky souls survive.

Livestock and wild animals will nearly always perish when they ingest the Spotted Water Hemlock or Poison Hemlock.

According to the article from Prairie Public NewsRoom, in ancient Greece, philosopher Socrates died by ingesting Poison Hemlock.  In fact, Poison Hemlock which again is a close relative to the more numerous Spotted Water Hemlock in North Dakota was found in Cass County back in 2020 growing in several road ditches, according to an article from NDSU Extention.

If nothing else, be sure to educate yourself and your family on these two deadly plants that grow right here in North Dakota.  Even touching them could be dangerous.


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