Browsing the archives for the poison hemlock tag.


Great Walks This Weekend!

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We had wonderful walks this past Saturday and Sunday at Frick Park in Pittsburgh - thanks to everyone who attended!

Although we did not find morels, we found plenty of Dryad Saddle (also called Pheasant Back):

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

We also identified and discussed many wild edible and medicinal plants over the past two days including:

  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  • Mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris
  • Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca
  • Mulberry, Morus
  • Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium alba
  • Garlic Mustard, Alliaria pettiolata
  • Onion Grass
  • Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
  • Violet, Viola
  • Chickweed, Stellaria media
  • Nettles, Urtica dioica
  • Deadnettles, Lamium purpurea
  • Cleavers, Galium aparine
  • Plantain, Plantago major
  • Burdock, Arctium lappa
  • Broad-leaf Dock, Rumex obtusifolius
  • Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum

chickweed

chickweed

We identified some poisonous plants:

  • Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  • Poison Ivy, Rhus radicans

We also discussed how to find and identify elm and tulip poplar trees (which helps in searching for morels.)

We are working on the dates for more 2014 walks and workshops…they will be posted soon.

Hope to see you!

~ Melissa and David Sokulski

Food Under Foot

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Walking With The SCA

General Posts, Identification
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We had a great time going on a wild edibles walk with students of Pittsburgh’s SCA (Student Conservation Association.)
We knew we wouldn’t find any along the south side river trail, so we brought along some beautiful sky-blue chicory, which is in bloom all along the roadsides and all over the city these days.
We sampled herbal tea which had chicory in it, and discussed it’s use as a coffee substitute (drying and roasting the roots.)

(You can read more about chicory in my article in Natural News here.)

We did have some great finds along the south side trail that day, including:

  • Dandelion
    dandelion leaf rosette

    dandelion leaf rosette

  • Burdock
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Purslane - delicious succulent plant, high in omega fatty acids
    Purslane - High in Omega Fatty Acids

    Purslane - High in Omega Fatty Acids

  • Lamb’s Quarters - delicious “wild spinach” (please sign up for our newsletter (top right) for lots more info about lambs quarters!)
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Mugwort
  • Staghorn Sumac (which we all sampled the sumac lemonade we had made for them, see previous post.)
    Staghorn Sumac - we soaked the red clusters in water for a lemony drink

    Staghorn Sumac - we soaked the red clusters in water for a lemony drink

  • Poisonous Crown Vetch - the variety Penngift was made in Pennsylvania, to plant along the highway to prevent soil erosion…with limited results. The soil continues to erode, and while cows and other ruminant can safely eat the plant, which is high in nitroglyceride, it is poisonous to horses and other non-ruminants. It spreads very easily as well.
  • Wild Carrot - which, though edible, we do not eat because of it’s similar appearance to the very deadly Water Hemlock and Poison Hemlock
    Queen Anne's Lace/Wild Carrot

    Queen Anne's Lace/Wild Carrot

  • Mullein - an herb which benefits the lungs, and often smoked by Native Americans for that purpose
    First Year Mullein basal rosette

    First Year Mullein basal rosette

  • St. John’s Wort - an herb used to treat depression
    St. John's Wort

    St. John's Wort

Here are some pictures of what the kids and adults of the SCA:

walking and talking with folks of the SCA

walking and talking with folks of the SCA

Pittsburgh Student Conservation Association

Pittsburgh Student Conservation Association

Finding Garlic Mustard Under The Trees

Finding Garlic Mustard Under The Trees


Reviewing what we'd identified

Reviewing what we'd identified

If you’d like more information about scheduling a wild edible walk for your group, please visit our wild event page. Or you can call Melissa at (412) 381-0116, or email to Melissa@FoodUnderFoot.com.

Thanks!
~ Melissa Sokulski, Herbalist
Food Under Foot

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Poison: Water Hemlock

General Posts, Identification, Look-Alikes, Poisonous or Toxic
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Or should I say: Extremely Poison: Water Hemlock.

poison: water hemlock

poison: water hemlock

Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) literally has me trembling. This (and it’s cousin, Poison Hemlock, or Conium maculatum) are the reason we advise all on our walks (especially children) NOT to eat the edible Wild Carrot, or Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota). Look how much the flower looks like Queen Anne’s Lace:

poison: water hemlock flower

poison: water hemlock flower

Wild Carrot Flower and Leaves, picture from Wiki, Gnu Free Licensing

Wild Carrot Flower and Leaves, picture from Wiki, Gnu Free Licensing


Water Hemlock is DEADLY
and the risk of confusing the two is just not worth it.

We found Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) growing all through Schenely Park in Pittsburgh. The leaves are quite different from that of Wild Carrot:

poison: water hemlock leaves

poison: water hemlock leaves

…so they are not impossible to tell apart. Still, if one were just learning, or not paying attention, or didn’t know something deadly so closely resembled something edible, they might make a mistake.

So again, this is why we advise people not to eat Wild Carrots (it’s too risky a mistake), and why we don’t eat them ourselves.

Hemlocks don’t smell like carrots the way wild carrots do, and that is another way to tell them apart. Again, it’s not that they look/are exactly the same, it’s just they are close enough, and grow in overlapping places and the risk is just too high.

According to the book Edible Wild Plants, this plant’s toxic alkaloids can cause nervousness, trembling (it causes me trembling just to look at it!), reduced heartbeat, coma, and respiratory failure/death.

Have fun and please stay safe,
~ Melissa
Food Under Foot

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