Weed identification-toxic?

Asked May 5, 2017, 12:45 PM EDT

This plant appeared in my garden in late summer or fall 2016; it was low to the ground and looked very much like greens used in floral arrangements so I thought it was a fern. However, this spring it began to grow vertically and now looks quite weedy. It is roughly 2 feet tall and about to flower. I posted on Facebook for gardens Bg friends and hrctoo most feequent guesses are something in the parsley/wild carrot family, or some type of hemlock. I am now assuming I should remove it, but want to know what I'm dealing with and whether it is toxic, i.e. whether and what precautions are needed. Any assistance or advice would be appreciated--I can supply more photos if helpful.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

2 Responses

This looks like Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), and you described it's biennial growth perfectly with the low rosette the first year and an erect, branched and blooming stem the next. It should have a disagreeable odor when crushed.
It is poisonous (respiratory failure) if ingested, but shouldn't hurt you to pull or dig.
If you are concerned, wear gloves and wash up afterward.

cm

Thank you very much for the speedy and helpful response!

Ruth