Botany Blog Plants of the Northeastern U.S.

June 27, 2010

Poison Hemlock

Filed under: Naturalized Plants,Uncategorized — admin @ 19:40

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a biennial herb that can grow to 3 m tall. It has a smooth stem that is often purple-streaked or spotted. The leaves are broadly triangular and divided into 3-4 segments with finely divided leaflets.

Poison Hemlock Leaves

The white flowers are produced in umbels up to 6 cm wide and rather resemble a large Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).

Closeup of Poison Hemlock Flowers

This species is native to Eurasia but has been introduced and has spread widely throughout North America. Most often found in partially shaded, disturbed areas on soil ranging from dry to wet, it is perhaps best known as the plant given to Socrates after he was sentenced to death. All parts are extremely poisonous but the parts of the plant that are most toxic are the seeds and root.

Poison Hemlock Flowers


June 20, 2010

Squarrose Sedge

Filed under: North American Native Plants — admin @ 21:31

Squarrose Sedge (Carex squarrosa) is a sedge of swampy woods and thickets that can easily be identified in the field. A stout, tufted sedge that can grow to a height of nearly 1 m, it has inflated perigynia (sacs) with abruptly narrowed beaks that are tightly packed on 1-2 (sometimes 3) spherical to ovoid spikes. The term squarrose means spreading, referring to the arrangement of the perigynia on the spike. The persistent style of the achene has a distinct bend to it, distinguishing it from the straight or slightly curved style of Cattail Sedge (Carex typhina).

Carex squarrosa

June 4, 2010


Filed under: Naturalized Plants — admin @ 00:24

Below is a composite image of Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus). This species has naturalized throughout most of temperate North America and typically occurs in disturbed areas. It is a biennial, most easily recognized by the low rosette of densely fuzzy leaves in the fall of the first year or spring of the second year. By summer of the second growing season it sends up a tall, dense spike of yellow flowers. Mature flowering stems can reach 2 meters in height.

 Common Mullein

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