The Poison Chronicles: Hemlock

I wrote a post about Hemlock for the Manchester Museum Herbarium Blog.

Herbology Manchester

wp_20170123_15_44_17_pro Herbarium Sheet of Conium maculatum from the Manchester Museum Herbarium

Guest Post by Laura Cooper

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is one of the most notorious of poisonous plants. It’s best known as the poison that killed the philosopher Socrates, and may even be indirectly responsible for the deaths of quail eaters, but even this species has been used as a medicine.

wp_20170123_15_44_31_proConium maculatum achenes from the Manchester Museum Herbarium

Conium maculatum is in the family Apiaceae. Many species in this family resemble hemlock as they possess white flowers in umbels, branches of the stem which form a flat surface, and pinnate leaves, resemble parsely (Petroselinum crispum) and wild carrot (Daucus carota). This has lead to foragers accidentally poisoning themselves, but most are put off by the “mousy” or foetid odour and bitter taste. This and red spots that appear on the base of the plant in spring…

View original post 519 more words

Advertisements

Author: Laura Cooper

I'm a gap-year student living in the UK, and I have a principle interest in the life sciences and here will be exploring these sciences with a historical, sociological and philosophical perspective. I want to know more about the social and philosophical underpinnings of scientific concepts and to explore their etiology, adoption and development in a holistic manner. Having a good knowledge of these fundamental principles behind scientific ideas is important for scientists to see scientific ideas as malleable things that can be questioned if inadequate, as well as for the non-scientist to appreciate science as a humanistic enterprise which is shaped by our basic human interests.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s