Poisonous Root from Cherokee Park

Asked March 28, 2016, 10:18 AM EDT

Last week two of my dogs were digging in Cherokee Park. They were pulling and chewing on a root. Both dogs developed severe tremors, drooling, convulsions, and loos of motor control and had to be hospitalized overnight. They are fine now, but I'd like to know what this root is. It has a layer of orange color right underneath the bark. Thanks Jody Zimmerman 502-724-3244

Jefferson County Kentucky

1 Response


I am sorry to hear about your dogs and I hope they recover quickly. Based on your description of your pets' reaction and the root photo you sent, I believe you dogs ate poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). At the bottom of this message is a link to more detailed information about the plant, its effects and identification.

To avoid it in the future, its best to know how to identify the plant. The plant has leaves that look like parsley or carrot leaves and a substantial tap root when dug up. It is commonly mistaken for Queen Anne's Lace, in its pre-flowering stage.

I hope you find this helpful. Please call Jefferson County Extension at 502-569-2344 and ask for Bethany if you have further questions.