Illinois, This Poisonous Weed Can Be Fatal And May Be In Your Yard
One weed is widespread in Illinois and you need to keep a sharp eye out for it.
It's the time of the year for us to be taking care of the landscaping outside of our dwellings. I don't know much about plants but I do know I really don't care to encounter this one when I'm pulling weeds from my driveway.
Some weeds are actually kind of pretty, some are ugly, and some apparently take being 'poisonous' to a new level.
Watch Out For This Widespread Weed
One such weed is very common in Illinois, present in 78 counties, according to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
It is called poison hemlock. It looks white and pretty, like this:
Nothing about that looks fatal. According to the University of Illinois, poison hemlock likes areas that have full sun and is commonly found in roadsides, railroad rights-of-way, utility corridors, ditches, old fields, pastures, and other open, disturbed areas. It's becoming more common in Illinois too.
A Little Poison Hemlock Can Kill You
This stuff isn't kidding around. All parts of the plant can be fatal. Illinois Wildflowers says that the ancient Athenians used to use the juice from this plant for executions. Earlier this week, I saw a Facebook post about a woman who picked poison hemlock with her bare hands and almost died from handling it. It kills by respiratory arrest and heart failure.
In Illinois, recent cases of extreme rashes have been reported from the weed.
What Do I Do About It Then?
To remove it, don't just pull it like you would any weed. It's not recommended that you take a mower or weed wacker to it either. Put on thick gloves, a long-sleeve shirt and pants, and remove it from the root.
If you've been exposed to poison hemlock, you need to get help immediately. You can call 911 or the Illinois Poison Center Helpline (1-800-222-1222) or go to the hospital.