POISON HEMLOCK, Conium maculatum L. 1, upper part of plant in bloom; 2, root; 3, flower. Biennial, forming a rosette the first year, reproducing by seed the second year. Root is fleshy, parsniplike taproot. Leaves alternate, large, 4 to 5 times compound, finely divided, and toothed, giving a lacy appearance. Stems smooth, erect, 2 to 7 feet (0.6 to 2 m) tall, much branched, with purplish spots and blotches; hollow between the nodes. Flowers white, produced in large terminal compound umbels that are flattish to slightly convex. Seeds borne in pairs, ovoid, flattened, smooth, prominently ribbed, pale brown. Found in wet sites along streams, in gardens, roadsides, waste areas. Sometimes grown as an ornamental. The entire plant is very poisonous.