Despite seasonal allergies, a slightly sore back, and the need to report to work this afternoon, I got out on my bike for a short ride this morning. I ended up at a wetlands area I frequent because there’s a nice shelter house, yet it’s at a spur off the main trail, so few people seem to stop there.
Thanks to a recent Facebook post from a friend, I realized this morning that there’s an abundance of poison hemlock growing there, and not harmless Queen Anne’s lace as I had always thought. I used the Seek app to verify the species. Since I don’t aspire to die like Socrates, I’m glad I never touched any back when I was misidentifying it!
One clear way to tell the difference between the two plants is the stem. Poison hemlock has smooth stems with purple spots. Queen Anne’s lace has hairy stems with no purple. I found a helpful article that provides more information.
Now you know. If you see this plant, make like anyone who is not Socrates and avoid it.