I can’t even tell you how many old movies would reference “hemlock,” that always feared, rarely seen pretty little wildflower that is actually quite lethal.

And now, it’s being found in New Jersey and all over the country.

There’s not a state in the country that doesn’t have poison hemlock growing in it.

I’ve seen warnings about this everywhere on social media. People have forwarded things to me on Facebook that scare the daylights out of me. And my NextDoor app, a sort of community bulletin board where people share advice and information, is filled with little snapshots of hemlock and stories about people in the neighborhood who have come in contact with it.

Source Adobe Stock
Source Adobe Stock

Basically, it looks like an ordinary weed but poison hemlock is one of the most dangerous plants on the planet.

Something innocuous with a little pretty white flower on it resembling Queen Anne’s lace. Google it if you need to. Because if you pick some of it or walk through it and shake the dust around and inhale it you can actually get pretty sick.

Symptoms can begin showing as early as 30 minutes after ingesting the plant. But even touching it can cause symptoms— from COVID-19 symptoms to full-blown lung and or a heart failure.

The borough of Watchung, N.J., released a “hemlock poison plant advisory” last Friday warning residents that the lethal weed is spreading into backyards and public parks.

Source Adobe Stock
Source Adobe Stock

And if you think you have come in contact with it these are some of the symptoms you should look out for:

Dilated pupils

The best way to prevent any poisoning from hemlock is to remove the plants. But I would leave this to the experts. You’ve got to remove the entire root because if you cut or mow mature hemlock plants like plants they can re-sprout or emit toxic fumes

You can also use herbicides to kill hemlock plants, but they are useless after hemlocks have sprouted flowers. The best time to use herbicides is in the late fall or early spring, right as the plants begin to grow.

Source Adobe Stock
Source Adobe Stock

Experts also warn that if you must interact with poison hemlock plants, make sure you wear gloves facemasks, and protective clothing and wrap up any plants in plastic or place them in plastic bags and then immediately throw them in the trash.

There is no antidote to hemlock poisoning. But if you come in contact with poisonous hemlock, doctors will be able to treat each specific symptom if you seek medical attention.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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18 wildly unpopular (but honest) opinions about NJ

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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