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poison hemlock

poison hemlock, lethally poisonous herbaceous plant (Conium maculatum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family). It has rank, finely divided foliage, flat-topped clusters of small white flowers, and a hollow, purple-mottled stem. Although native to the Old World, it is now naturalized and common in parts of the United States. The poisonous principle (the alkaloid coniine) causes paralysis, convulsions, and eventual death. Poison hemlock was used in ancient Greece in executions; a famous example was the philosopher Socrates. The related water hemlock (any species of Cicuta) is similar in appearance and as poisonous. C. maculata, called also musquash-root, spotted cowbane, and beaver poison, is the common species of E North America. The evergreen trees called hemlock are unrelated. Poison hemlock is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Apiales, family Umbelliferae.

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hemlock

hem·lock / ˈhemˌläk/ • n. 1. a highly poisonous European plant (Conium maculatum) of the parsley family, with a purple-spotted stem, fernlike leaves, small white flowers, and an unpleasant smell. ∎  a sedative or poisonous potion obtained from this plant. 2. a coniferous North American tree (genus Tsuga) of the pine family with dark green foliage that is said to smell like the hemlock plant when crushed, grown chiefly for timber and pulp production.

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hemlock

hemlock Poisonous herbaceous plant found in Eurasia. It has a long taproot and flat clusters of white flowers. The leaf stalks have purple spots. Family Apiaceae/Umbelliferae; species Conium maculatum. Hemlock also refers to species of conifers of the genus Tsuga, family Pinaceae.

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hemlock

hemlock OE. hymlic(e), hemlic, of unkn. orig.; forms in hum-, hom- continued till XVI; the alt. of the final syll. to -lock (XV) is paralleled in CHARLOCK.

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hemlock

hemlock in ancient Greece, the poison obtained from this plant was a method of execution; Socrates was put to death in this way.

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hemlock

hemlock •matchlock • padlock • armlock •Belloc •deadlock, headlock, wedlock •hemlock • fetlock • airlock •breeze block • gridlock • ziplock •flintlock • Shylock •forelock, oarlock, warlock •roadblock • woodblock • sunblock •gunlock • lovelock • firelock •hammerlock • fetterlock • interlock •Enoch • kapok • epoch • shamrock •bedrock • pibroch • Sheetrock •Ragnarök • bedsock • windsock •shell shock • aftershock • fatstock •Bartók •deadstock, headstock •penstock • tailstock • feedstock •tick-tock • laughing stock • livestock •nostoc, Rostock, Vladivostok, Vostok •rootstock • Woodstock • bloodstock •gunstock

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