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Poison Hemlock Vs Yarrow Plants: Similarities & Differences

The general debate of Poison Hemlock and Yarrow is taking charge, with many considering the confusion in the recent foraging community!
Generally, Poison Hemlocks and Yarrows share many similarities, such as white flowers, feathery leaves, habitat, uses, and pollinators. However, they differ in toxicity, plant appearance, flower color, and leaf shape.
Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between Poison Hemlock and Yarrow plants.

Poison Hemlock And Yarrow: Common Similarities

Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) are the plants that are often confused because of their similarities.

Here are some similarities that these two plants share with each other.

  • Both plants bear white-colored umbrella-like flowers in clusters, and the flowers of both plants bloom in Summer.
poison hemlock vs yarrow
Poison Hemlock and Yarrow have same flower structure.
  • Poison Hemlock and Yarrow both have feathery leaves. 
  • Poison Hemlock and Arrow attract the same pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.
  • Both Poison Hemlocks and Yarrow are native to Europe and Asia but are now found in many parts of the world.
  • These two plants grow in similar habitats, such as meadows, roadsides, and urban areas.
  • Both plants are used in traditional medicine, but you should be careful of the toxicity of Poison Hemlock.

Poison Hemlock Vs Yarrow: Prime Differences

Although Poison Hemlock and Yarrow plants share many similarities, there are some variations between them, which are mentioned below.

  1. Plant appearance: Poison Hemlocks reach up to 10 feet in height with soft leaves and finely divided leaves. But Yarrows reach 1-3 feet with hairy stems and finely divided fern-like leaves.
  2. Flower color: Poison Hemlocks have white flowers, while Yarrows bear white, pink, or yellow flowers.
  3. Leaf shape: Poison Hemlocks bear pinnately compound leaves, while Yarrows possess bipinnately divided leaves.
  4. Smell: Poison Hemlocks lack a strong aroma, whereas Yarrows have distinct, pleasant, and aromatic scents.
  5. Uses: Poison Hemlocks are toxic and have no such historical medicinal uses, while Yarrows are used in traditional uses.
  6. Wildlife attraction: Generally, Poison Hemlocks are not so attractive to wildlife due to their toxicity, but Yarrows attract much wildlife, such as Bees and Butterflies.

Poison Hemlock Vs Yarrow Plants: Toxicity

All parts of Poison Hemlocks, including leaves, fruits, seeds, and roots, contain toxic compounds, mainly Coniine.

Even a very small amount can be fatal to humans. Their toxicity symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures, paralysis, and respiratory failure.

Similarly, toxicity symptoms start after 30 minutes to several hours after ingestion.

However, there are no remedies for symptoms caused by the toxicity of Poison Hemlocks. 

In contrast, Yarrows are non-toxic, but overconsumption can cause allergic reactions, inclduing the itching and swelling.

Thus, you should seek immediate medical help if these symptoms occur.

From Editorial Team


Before using Poison Hemlocks, remember to check their legal status because they are banned in some nations due to their toxicity.

The countries where the Poison Hemlocks are banned are the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

However, Yarrows are safe to consume for medicinal purposes.