A poisonous and invasive plant is spreading through the midstate. Poison hemlock is growing rampant, particularly in Lancaster County.
Driving through Lancaster County, you may see little white flowers along the roadside. But their pretty appearance is deceiving.
"Poison hemlock is a non-native, invasive we call it species that just seems to have exploded across the county and South Central PA," said Jeff Graybill, with Penn State Agriculture Extension.
Poison hemlock is even spreading into farmers' fields where livestock graze.
"We don't want that to happen because the potential is there, certainly for death of live stock or illness," said Graybill.
Graybill said there have been a couple of live stock deaths from poison hemlock over the last ten years in Lancaster County.
But it is not just animals that are at risk of being poisoned. The great Greek philosopher Socrates was executed by drinking tea that was made with poison hemlock. The danger of consuming this plant is relevant to midstaters today.
"I mean there have been cases of human poisoning where people have eaten the root because it does look like a wild parsley or some other wild carrot," said Graybill.
Poison hemlock and queen Anne's lace look almost identical. But there are a few distinct differences. The biggest one is size. Poison hemlock is eight feet tall or higher, much taller than Queen Anne's lace, which is only a few feet high. Queen Anne's lace has a black dot in the middle of the white flowers. Poison hemlock has purple spots on the stalk.
So what can be done to weed-out the aggressive plant? If you see it on your property, you should get to the root of the problem.
"I would suggest wearing gloves. You can pull it out. You can spray it with weed killer. It is very deeply rooted so you may have to dig it out," said Graybill
PennDOT is also doing its part by removing the poisonous plant from the roadside.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:52:34 GMT
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press The killer had a grudge against the Pennsylvania State Police, regularly visited a local shooting range to keep his skills sharp, and picked just the right...More >>
Hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned out across the dense northeastern Pennsylvania woods Tuesday in the hunt for a heavily armed survivalist suspected of ambushing two troopers as part of a deadly vendetta against...More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 5:42 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:42:32 GMT
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press A funeral will be held Thursday for a Pennsylvania State Police trooper who was killed in an ambush outside his barracks.More >>
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press The gunman who ambushed two Pennsylvania State Police troopers outside their barracks, killing one, used a rifle and might have had formal firearms training through...More >>