It’s great that you’re a locavore and all that , but before you run out and eat stuff that is growing in your yard — look carefully and make sure it’s not hemlock — a poisonous plant that, according to Wikipedia, can kill you by the time you’re on about your 6th delicious leaf. (Ok, it takes longer than that, but you get the idea. It’s bad for you.)
A medical investigator says that a mysterious death back in April may have been the result of hemlock poisoning after the woman “apparently put hemlock in a salad she ate, thinking it was something else.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened recently. Another guy thought hemlock (a member of the carrot family) was actually a carrot and added it to a bowl of fermented veggies. He lived, but is lucky he wasn’t killed. (Hemlock is the same poison that killed Socrates.)
Three other known cases of people eating or being exposed to poison hemlock already have been reported for the year in Skagit, Thurston and Whitman counties.
“That was an unusual number for us,” said Katie Von Derau of the poison center.
The cases prompted the center and state Noxious Weed Control Board to warn about the perils of mistaking poison hemlock for edible plants, such as parsley, parsnip, wild carrot and anise, which have similar-looking flowers, leaves and seeds.
Here’s what it looks like. Don’t eat it.