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Hemlock, spotted (Conium maculatum)

Strongly toxic!

Hemlock, spotted hemlock (Conium maculatum)



Areas of application:

Back then for pain, epilepsy and paralysis. (Please do not use, see note below)

Plant parts used:

Leaves and shoot tips

Collection time:

June to September of the second year

To find:

In meadows, gardens, ditches, on rubble sites and on roadsides.


Alkaloids, especially coniine, furanocoumarins, flavonoids


The spotted hemlock is a biennial plant and can grow to a height of between 50 cm and 250 cm. The whitish root is spindle-shaped. Its distinguishing feature is the smell of mouse urine. The round stems are hollow, glabrous and longitudinally ribbed. They are covered with a kind of blue frost and spotted red at the bottom. The leaves are arranged alternately and are divided into petioles, leaf sheaths and leaf blades. The bare leaf blades are broadly triangular in outline and two to four times pinnate or pinnately cut; they are similar to those of the non-poisonous meadow chervil. The last order leaves are ovate and have white cartilaginous prickly tips. The double-umbeled inflorescence has 8 to 20 umbel rays with 5 or 6 skin-edged bracts. The white petals are obversely heart-shaped and slightly edged.

🛑 The hemlock is fatally poisonous and particularly dangerous when taken internally!!! The processing of hemlock was banned in Europe as a criminal offense 2000 years ago! The substance coniine is absorbed from injured plant parts into uninjured skin and causes redness and ultimately blistering. The poisons are particularly concentrated in the unripe fruits. It primarily affects the nervous system. The poisoning is manifested by burning in the mouth and throat, nausea, visual disturbances, loss of the ability to speak and swallow and muscle cramps, until death occurs due to paralysis in breathing while remaining completely conscious. The strong smell of mouse urine, the split leaves and the reddish spots on the frost-covered stems are clear distinguishing features.

Along with water hemlock (Cicuta virosa) and dog parsley (Aethusa cynapium), it is one of the most poisonous species of the umbelliferous family. In ancient times, condemned people, such as the Greek philosopher Socrates, were executed with a cup of hemlock (a drink made from its fruits or roots).

In many records, the spotted hemlock (Conium maculatum) is mentioned as an ingredient in the flying ointment, with its Help witches put themselves into ecstatic states.

Hildegard von Bingen: If a person ate hemlock, everything that was good and right in him would be destroyed. But he who has fallen or been beaten by clubs, let him boil hemlock in water and bind it on the limbs in which he has pain.

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