Take a drive along any Southern Tier road road this time of year and you'll be greeted by a stunning rainbow of roadside wildflowers. While it might be tempting to pull to the side of the road and cut some wild flowers to take home, caution should be extended because not all that is beautiful is safe.

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Poison hemlock is often confused for Queen Anne's lace but there are a few differences, the biggest being that Queen's Anne lace is not poisonous while hemlock is. Ingesting even a small amount of poison hemlock can be fatal.

How To Tell the Difference Between Queen Anne's Lace and Poison Hemlock

The two biggest differences revolve around the stem and the flowers. The stem of poison hemlock is hairless with purple blotches. On the other hand, the stem of Queen Anne's lace is hairy with purple blotching. The flowers of Queen Anne's lace have a single reddish or purplish flower in the center while poison hemlocks don't. See the other differences along with photos here.

Has Anyone Died After Ingesting Poison Hemlock?

A lot of people are fooled by poison hemlock because it looks a lot like Queen Anne's however, not only is Queen Anne's lace not poisonous but it is also safe to eat. The same can't be said about hemlock. Poison hemlock is incredibly poisonous in all stages of its growth and if ingested, it can be deadly. Hemlock is toxic to both animals and humans and according to WebMD, there have been actual cases of people who have died after eating animals which had ingested parts of poison hemlock.

What Do People Confuse Poison Hemlock With?

According to Healthline, hemlock can be deadly if ingested. Not only does poison hemlock resemble Queen Anne's lace, but the roots have been mistaken for wild parsnips and the leaves mistaken for parsley. That is a huge issue because if ingested, poison hemlock can lead to respiratory failure.

What Are the Symptoms of Hemlock Poisoning?

The less deadly symptoms of poison hemlock poisoning include, burning in the digestive tract, loss of speech, convulsions, rapid and then slowed heart rate, and more. Scary, right? Now consider this, serious symptoms include breakdown of skeletal muscle, acute renal failure, respiratory failure, and more. Obviously, the most catastrophic potential side effect of ingesting poison hemlock is death.

Is There a Cure for Poison Hemlock Poisoning?

No, there is no known cure for poison hemlock poisoning. However, seeking immediate medical help could literally mean the difference between life and death. If you believe that you have accidently ingested hemlock, you should immediately seek immediate medical attention

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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