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Uses

Toxic parts

A very poisonous plant, the toxins are especially concentrated in the seed[1][2][3][4][5][6]. The stems contain up to 0.06% of the toxic alkaloids, the leaves between 0.03 and 0.8%, the flowers from 0.09 to 0.24% and the green fruit from 0.73 to 0.98%[7]. The toxins, however, are very volatile and decompose readily[8], especially when the plant is dried or cooked[9]. The toxins paralyse the respiratory nerves, causing death by suffocation[10]. Children have been known to die after using the hollow stems as blowpipes[11]. The poisonous nature of the plant varies considerably, with many people believing that the plant is less toxic when grown in cooler climates[12].

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - cooked[13]. Although toxic, plants found in the south of England are comparatively harmless and the leaves are used as a pot-herb[14]. They can also be dried for later use. The toxic principle is said to be destroyed by thorough cooking or drying[9][15]. Caution is advised, especially on the remarks about plants in southern England[K]. See the notes above on toxicity.

Leaves

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Conium maculatum.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Hemlock is a very poisonous plant that has a long history of medicinal use, though it is very rarely used in modern herbalism[10][16]. It is a narcotic plant that sedates and relieves pain[10]. The plant contains coniine, an extremely toxic substance that can also cause congenital defects[16].

The whole plant is analgesic, antispasmodic, emetic, galactofuge and sedative[9][2][17][18][19][20]. It is a traditional folk treatment for cancer[20] and was formerly widely used internally in very small doses to treat a variety of complaints including tumours, epilepsy, whooping cough, rabies and as an antidote to strychnine poisoning[21][16]. It is still used externally, usually in ointments and oils, in the treatment of mastitis, malignant tumours (especially breast cancer) anal fissure and haemorrhoids[10]. The leaves and stems should be harvested when the first fruits are forming, since they are then at their most active medicinally[9]. The fruits are gathered either when fully ripe, or before they turn from green to yellow, and are then dried[9]. Because of the extremely toxic nature of this herb, it is seldom employed nowadays[21]. Use with extreme caution and only under the guidance of a qualified practitioner[18][10]. See also the notes above on toxicity.

A homeopathic remedy is prepared from a tincture of the fresh plant, harvested when in flower[21]. It is used for treating complaints such as dizziness, coughs, insomnia, exhaustion[21], arteriosclerosis and prostate problems[2].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in the late summer. It usually germinates in the autumn.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Conium maculatum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

A fairly common weed in Britain, it succeeds in most soils in sun or light shade and avoids acid soils in the wild. It prefers a damp rich soil[10].

This is the plant that Socrates is said to have used to kill himself, though this is probably an error[22]. It requires a large dose if it is to be lethal (this contradicts with the notes above on toxicity[K]), and death from this plant can be very painful whilst Socrates is said to have died without pain[22]. Another report says that poisonous doses cause paralysis, which starts at the feet and moves up the body. There is no pain, the mind remains clear and lucid until death, which is caused by asphyxia when paralysis reaches the chest[21].

The whole plant has a foetid smell[2].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Conium maculatum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Conium maculatum.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Conium maculatum
Genus
Conium
Family
Umbelliferae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    2 x 1 meters
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Illustration Conium maculatum0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Conium maculatum0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Illustration Conium maculatum0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Conium maculatum0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.4 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? Altmann. H. Poisonous Plants and Animals. Chatto and Windus ISBN 0-7011-2526-8 (1980-00-00)
    4. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    5. ? Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    6. ? Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
    7. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    8. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.49.59.6 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    12. ? Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.116.216.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.118.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.120.2 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.121.221.321.421.5 Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.1 Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
    23. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

    "image:Illustration Conium maculatum0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Conium maculatum"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyUmbelliferae +
    Belongs to genusConium +
    Has binomial nameConium maculatum +
    Has common nameHemlock +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partLeaves +
    Has edible useUnknown use +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Insects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has imageIllustration Conium maculatum0.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typeBiennial +
    Has mature height2 +
    Has mature width1 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnalgesic +, Antispasmodic +, Cancer +, Emetic +, Galactofuge +, Homeopathy + and Sedative +
    Has primary imageIllustration Conium maculatum0.jpg +
    Has search nameconium maculatum + and hemlock +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameConium maculatum +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Conium maculatum +, Conium maculatum +, Conium maculatum +, Conium maculatum +, Conium maculatum +, Conium maculatum +, Conium maculatum + and Conium maculatum +