seeds of Conium maculatum, Poison Hemlock

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Conium maculatum Samen
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Conium maculatum, also known as poison hemlock or hemlock, is an herbaceous plant species of the family Apiaceae. The plant’s synonyms include Cicuta major, Cicuta officinalis and Conium croaticum. Other common names for the plant include devil’s porridge, Australian carrot, poison parsley, and devil’s bread. The plant has its origins in North Africa and large swaths of Europe. Conium maculatum can reach a maximum height of 1.5 to 2.5 metres at maturity. The plant stem is glabrous, hollow and has purple or red streaks. Leaves are either four-pinnate or two-pinnate and can grow to a length of 50 cm and a width of 40 cm. Each leaf is triangle-shaped and lacy. Conium maculatum is a hardy plant and is consequently able to naturalize easily into new locations. This consistent expansion has led to the plant appearing in listings of the world’s most invasive plants. Conium maculatum contains many chemical compounds that are toxic to both plants and animals. Coniine, an alkaloid present in the plant, acutely affects the kidneys and nervous system of people and animals that ingest the plant. The plant’s alkaloids could also trigger a neuromuscular blockage which could be fatal. Hemlock was the poison of choice whenever the time came to execute prisoners in ancient Greece. Conium maculatum is a notable ornamental plant in Northern America. The plant’s beauty coupled with its hardiness makes it ideal for areas with dry or poorly drained soils. Moreover, one can rest assured in the fact that the plant won’t be a hassle to cultivate. Conium maculatum mostly grows ditches and the edges of streams and farms. One can also find the plant growing in waste areas and beside many roads. Conium maculatum thrives in spring after surviving through the winter. Drying the plant helps to minimize its poison. The poison, however, will still be potent.
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