Poison hemlock mystery

Hi friends! We stopped for lunch yesterday about 10 miles outside of Montrose, Iowa, where we had a warm and delightful time with our new friends in town (stay tuned for an update about our time there!) We encountered this plant growing in a rocky area near the edge of the river. It looks like parsley and the roots smelled a little bit like mint. We learned before we left on our trip that poison hemlock, which is a deadly plant if eaten, resembles parsley--hence its nickname "fool's parsley."

Can you help us solve the mystery? Do you think this plant is poison hemlock? What would have happened if we had eaten it? Why is it important to identify plants you find growing wild before you eat them? Do you know anyone who eats wild plants, or have you ever eaten food that you picked yourself?

What historical significance does poison hemlock have? Which famous philosopher died from eating this plant? Why did he eat it if he knew it was poisonous?


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