Poison Hemlock in Carrot Patch

Asked June 20, 2013, 1:36 PM EDT

I've learned the difference in appearance between poison hemlock and carrots, and now see that there were a number of of well-developed poison hemlock plants in my crowded carrot patch from compost added this spring. All parts of poison hemlock are very poisonous. Even though I am pulling up all the hemlock, I'm wondering if there is any danger of toxins from the poison hemlock plants migrating through the soil and being absorbed by the carrots. In other words, do I have to throw out my carrots because hemlock was growing in their midst? I scoured the internet and found only one unofficial answer that said that the hemlock toxins don't migrate in the soil appreciably, so I could eat the carrots. It seems to me there are three things to consider: 1) whether or not hemlock actually secretes toxins into the soil, 2) residual dirt on the carrots (which can be handled by thorough scrubbing) and 3) the possibility that toxins actually are absorbed by the carrots.

If you say it is safe to eat the carrots, please give me a reference if you can.

Thanks, Jay Nunley, Sheridan, Oregon

Yamhill County Oregon weed issues

2 Responses

Hello and thank you for your question. Unfortunately, due to the potentially dangerous nature of your situation, our experts do not feel qualified to give advice (and understandably for liability reasons.) We suggest you contact your local health department, or Poison Control Center.
Sorry we can't be of more help on this one. Best of luck and be careful.

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Thanks, I did call poison control and they said the poisoning (Poison Hemlock) was limited to ingestion. JN