Is it a killer?

In the last post I sang the praises of comfrey. This multi use plant is going to serve in another capacity On the homestead. It is going to help me push out a plant that could be very harmful and toxic. On the other hand the plant could be no more than a common wild carrot.
That’s right, I’m talking Queen Anne’s lace, and water hemlock. These two plants ate so similar to each other that it takes an expert, or a lucky guess to distinguish them. Since one is toxic and deadly, there will be no guessing.
here is a link to what the CDC has to say about water hemlock, and how simply deadly it is.

The alternative to the water hemlock is the wild carrot, or Queen Anne’s lace. Since there is such a risk involved, and I am not an expert I have opted to get rid of it from the property. There are a couple of ways that I am planning to do this.

The first is to disadvantage with extreme prejudice, and scissors. Every time I find it I chop it and it heads for a landfill. Another method I plan to employ is the use of light blocking squares. These are simply framed black plastic placed over the area to induce death of the plant.

The second is with the use of comfrey. The comfrey seems to grow side by side with this plant just fine. When I harvest comfrey for compost, and compost tea however I have observed that the invasive does not like to grow under it.

Using these methods I think that I can beat back the pest, and not have to worry about anyone getting ahold of this potential killer.

If you have battled with this pest before and have advice for beating it back WITHOUT pesticides, please drop me a note. I would love to hear from you.

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7 Responses to Is it a killer?

  1. plumdirt says:

    We have a wild carrot weed here that isn’t the Queen Anne’s Lace I knew in childhood, and am now hoping also isn’t water hemlock…

    My best bet at getting rid of it was a diligent walk after watering with my Hori-hori. After prying it out by the root and tossing it in the trash, I’ve almost eradicated it. In getting lazy once, it made it to seed and I had to start all over…

    • Hi! Hemlock is deadly poisonous, and if you eat even a tiny bit it kills.
      However, for both you and the poster of this you should know there’s an EASY way to tell if it’s a carrot. Break off a stem and smell it!

      If it smells like a parsnip, and gross, it’s hemlock! If it smells like an old strong concentrated carrot, it’s a carrot.
      Another way is wild carrots have fuzzy stems. Hemlock is pretty much always smooth and sometimes has purple, blotchy spots on it. Carrots never have purple spots.

      I have eaten wild carrots around here with no problem and the two don’t tend to grow in the same space. But it’s super easy to tell them apart on a plant-by-plant basis! I’ve been eating and feeding wild carrots; no deaths yet!

      http://quarteracrehome.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/foraging-not-so-friday-wild-carrots/

      • Are the purple blotches on the stems? I have seen a few with a very small purple flower at the center of all the white.

      • On the stems, yes. Queen Annes Lace often has a red or purple flower in the middle of the white. Legend has it’s a drop of blood from Queen Anne as she made the lace. Truth is it’s to attract insects. not all queen annes lace has it and color varies some. If it’s a fuzzy stem it’s a carrot.

      • Thank you. I’ll have a look but chances are they are still getting pushed out. Death doesn’t sound fun.

      • I don’t blame you! I’m just saying; foraging isn’t all that scary if you research what to look for! And carrot tops are a highly nutritious feed source.

      • I’ll take a fresh look tomorrow and try to put up some pictures as well

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