PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend city officials are asking community members to help control poison hemlock near their homes and in public rights of way.
Poison hemlock is a toxic Class B noxious weed that should be handled with caution, officials say in both Jefferson and Clallam counties.
The plant has green fern-like leaves and purple blotches on the stem. It can be 4 to 10 feet tall when flowering. Flowering plants are covered with small umbrella-shaped clusters of tiny white flowers.
Hemlock should be removed by pulling or digging up and removing as much of the root as possible, officials said.
Protective clothing and equipment should be worn, and it’s best to place the plant in a black plastic bag and dispose of in the trash, according to a press release.
All parts of the plant are poisonous.
It is acutely toxic for livestock, wildlife and humans, and it can cause death by respiratory paralysis after ingestion, according to Clallam County Noxious Weed Control.
It’s aggressive growth crowds out more desirable vegetation, and early spring growth makes it more likely to be eaten by animals when there is limited forage available.
Compost facilities cannot accept this weed as yard waste.
If residents are removing the plant from a right of way, the City of Port Townsend will pick up from a few specific locations today and June 14.
Residents are urged to contact City Hall for drop-off locations and times at 360-385-3000 or to email [email protected]