Plants of the Week Sept 29-Oct 5

Northern Water Hemlock (Cicuta virosa) and Red Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)


Northern Water Hemlock (Image From: /2013/09/dangerous-plants.html)

Posted by Lexie Nason

Northern Water Hemlock, also known as Spotted Cowbane, is apart of the Apiaceae family and grows in many areas of North America but thrives best in wet, open areas such as near swamps, shorelines, and marshes. Northern Water Hemlock is a perennial plant that can grow between three to six feet in height and displays clusters of small white flowers. Along with growing in North America, Northern Water Hemlock thrives in Northern and Central Europe. I found Northern Water Hemlock to be a plant of particular interest because of its extreme toxicity to both humans and animals. Although it grows in abundance, the entirety of this plant is poisonous due to the toxin Cicutoxin. If Northern Water Hemlock is consumed, it will cause seizures and failures within the nervous system. The Northern Water Hemlock is poisonous whether its flowers are in full-blossom and are white or if the flowers are still green. While this plant species is toxic at all times, its concentration of Circutoxin is greatest in the early spring season.


Red Poppy (photo by Aftabbanoori – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – /wiki/File:Poppy-1.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Poppy-1.jpg)

Posted by Barbara VanDerburgh

The red poppy is attributed to growing wildly in Europe, specifically southern Europe, but originally cropped up in Eurasia and North Africa. A quickly growing plant with the attributes of a weed, the red poppy or corn poppy grew noticeably during World War One in the “no man’s land” spaces between the trenches, and was thus adopted as a symbol of the war, worn in remembrance of lives lost. In both Persian and Urdu art the flower symbolizes love. The red poppy has an unpleasant smell and is mildly poisonous to animals, but maintains a striking beauty in its deep red coloration and long stem.