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Poison Hemlock has been spreading across the country, and can now be easily found along highways, in nearly all national parks, and even in backyard gardens. Every part of the plant is poisonous, from its seeds to its sap. Toxic alkaloids found in the plant can interfere with nerve transmissions to your muscles, resulting in respiratory failure. Even the simple act of touching it can cause irritation and blistering, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Eating it can ultimately be fatal to humans and animals, which raises concerns about children and pets who may potentially ingest the plant if not under a watchful eye. Trembling, salivation, pupil dilatation, muscle paralysis, and loss of speech are all indicators of poisoning. As of now, there is no antidote.

Poison Hemlock looks similar to a large parsley plant or Queen Anne's Lace. Its discerning feature, however, is its purple blotchy stem.

Poison Hemlock can be identified by its blotchy purple stem. (Image from Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Poison Hemlock can be identified by its blotchy purple stem.
Image from Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you come across poison hemlock on your property, it is recommended to remove it, being sure to wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, and eye protection during the process.  Do not try to mow or weed whack it, as this will only help spread the plant and possibly leave you susceptible to ingestion as seeds and sap get into the air.

Have you seen this toxic plant around your area?

LOOK: Here Are 30 Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs

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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