Warning issued to dog walkers after woman finds plant lethal to dogs on beach

When Suzanne Dellamuro was walking her dog on a beach in Cornwall, she discovered a plant toxic enough to kill a cow.

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Dog walkers have been warned to pay extra attention when walking their dogs after a woman found a deadly plant on a Cornish beach. While walking her pet dog on Carbis Bay beach on Sunday morning, Suzanne Dellamuro discovered roots from the plant, hemlock.

Hemlock roots resemble a mix of bananas, beans and turnips and can prove fatal to both dogs and humans if ingested. The roots are more toxic than the leaves, and a single root could kill a cow if swallowed.

Ms Dellamuro posted a photo of the plant on Facebook with the warning: “Beware, hemlock roots found on Carbis bay beach. I picked it up with gloves and disposed of it. But be careful, it’s very, very poisonous.”

Just by touching the hemlock plant one can develop a painful rash, and any contact with the eye produces a burning sensation. The plant attacks the respiratory and nervous systems which can lead to full fatal respiratory failure.

Hemlock taken by Prof Ian Rotherham.Hemlock taken by Prof Ian Rotherham.
Hemlock taken by Prof Ian Rotherham.

Hemlock grows in damp places and can form large colonies along roads, riverbanks, ditches and waste ground. If you or your pet has come into contact with the plant it is vital that you contact a vet immediately.