Oh dear, but not oh dear again

Don’t tell them that this is a contender for ‘most abundant non-grassy plant’ all across the Great Fen area…
The cryptic title is because iSpot would not accept the post as originally headed ‘Oh dear, oh dear’:
An error occurred: Title seems unclear, most of the words contain the same letters over and over?

I wonder if it is one of the most abundant plants in urban areas now full stop, not just the great fen area. Although there are some very strange gaps in the Conium maculatum : Hemlock | NBN Atlas map of the distribution.

In my records it’s only the 10th commonest umbellifer. (Hogweed and cow parsley are neck and neck for the commonest.) When I add records for rough chervil from along canal towpaths over the last month rough chervil would be on its way to challenging that 10th place.

Along some on the paths I have walked Hampshire/Dorset Hemlock Water Dropwort was completely dominant. It has the advantage of being relatively odour free.

However, the Hemlock at Cherwel services, which is the dominant umbellifer in dog walking area next to the river is so foul smelling anybody wanting to snack on it would have to have a peg on their node. Concentrated odour of dead mouse and mouse urine about covers its.

Umbellifers are noticeably less abundant around here, a few pignut still in flower, but along the seafront is a fine collection of Hemlock Water Dropwort.

I would have thought just don’t eat the vegetation should be the advice.

It’s presumably just one of the ways people’s sense of smell varies, but I’ve never noticed an odour with hemlock.

I think that both species are spreading in Cheshire. In the last 10 to 15 years Oenanthe crocata has gone from being an occasional plant along canal banks to a frequent one. Conium maculatum has a less easily characterised distribution, but it seems to be spreading along the M6.

A camp site near me has a great display of Hemlock Water Dropwort all down one side. I did notify the owner but he has taken what is probably the sensible approach and done nothing. It’s a great area for hoverflies! I agree with the general sentiment above that the best thing is not to eat vegetation if you don’t know what it is. I read somewhere that HWD has quite a pleasant taste if you want to enjoy your final hours to the maximum.

I have also read that the taste is quite pleasant, unlike Hemlock, and of course you are left with a grin on your face. Although a rictus one.
The root is apparently the most poisonous and has that parsnip look about it. Hence the lurking danger to foragers.

Foragers may use Google Lens… see this contemporary forum post.

Then they may live, or may not, in which case they may just have time to realise AI is not infallible.

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I certainly wouldn’t use AI if I were foraging for fungi.

I always wonder how many people in the dim and distant past found out the hard way which umbellifers, berries, fungi etc were fine to eat more than once

They probably tested them on their enemies?

One of the methods is animal testing (feed them to farm animals); this may be the origin of the phrase guinea pig.