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Conium maculatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Subfamily: Apioideae
Genus: Conium

Conium chaerophylloides (Thunb.) Sond.
Conium maculatum L.

Conium (/kˈn.əm/ or /ˈkniəm/) is a genus of one[1] or two species of highly poisonous perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and the Mediterranean region as Conium maculatum (known popularly as Hemlock), and to southern Africa as Conium chaerophylloides.

Conium maculatum[edit]

Main article: Conium maculatum
19th-century illustration of Conium maculatum

By far the more familiar species is Conium maculatum (Hemlock or Poison Hemlock). It is a weed known almost worldwide for its toxicity to many domestic animals and to human beings. In ancient Greece, hemlock was used to poison condemned prisoners. The most famous victim of hemlock poisoning is the philosopher Socrates.


  1. ^ "No good reasons appear to have been advanced for maintaining the southern African representatives of this genus as a separate species (C. chaerophylloides), and accordingly it is here reduced to synonymy.""Flora Zambesiaca volume:4 part:0 (1978) Umbelliferae by M. L. Gonçalves". eFloras. Kew.