Warning issued over poisonous hemlock weed found at Peterborough park

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Visitors and dog walkers are advised not to touch or ingest the plants

Members of the public are being warned to look out for a deadly weed growing in a popular city park and dog walking spot.

The presence of poisonous Hemlock plants have been reported at Thorpe Meadows and the council is urging visitors to the park to be extra cautious – and to seek medical or veterinary advice immediately if they come into contact with it.

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The authority states that children and dogs should not be allowed to run through long vegetation at the park, and says it now plans to put fencing up to restrict access.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said today (Friday): “Residents and dog walkers who visit Thorpe Meadows in Peterborough are being made aware that poisonous Hemlock plants have recently been identified on land there.

"Hemlock is highly toxic to humans and animals and can be fatal. Do not touch or ingest any part of the plant.

"We are currently working to restrict access to areas of Thorpe Meadows where a high density of the plants have been identified in fields popular with dog walkers.

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“This will see fencing installed around the plants until flailing and herbicide treatment has been carried out. As bird nesting season is currently in progress, treatment is not expected to start until September. Signage will also be installed to make visitors aware of the plants and relevant safety advice."

Poisonous Hemlock. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Poisonous Hemlock. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Poisonous Hemlock. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The council says their plan to eradicate the nuisance weeds – also referred to as ‘poison parsley’ – can take “up to five years” due to its ability to self-seed.

They added: “In the meantime, we are keen to remind people not to touch or ingest the plants or allow children / dogs to run through long vegetation.”

Often confused with cow parsley, which is edible, Hemlock can grow up to 2m tall – and only a tiny amount can be fatal to humans and animals. There is currently no antidote.

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Symptoms of Hemlock poisoning include trembling, muscle pain, rapid heart rate, burning in the digestive tract, convulsions, loss of speech and loss of consciousness.

All parts of the plant are thought to be poisonous, and even just touching it can induce a skin reaction in some people.

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