Volunteers in the garden are a mixed blessing. For every golden rod (Solidago) that finds its way into my yard, there are more than a few Japanese stilt grasses (Microstegium vimineum) and mugworts (Artemisia vulgaris) that I could do without. Recently I discovered a large patch of poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) growing near the border of my fence.
From a distance it is easy to confuse with Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), but up close it has distinct differences. The stem of poison hemlock is smooth while that of QAL is hairy. The root of QAL has a pleasant carrot fragrance while that of poison hemlock is anything but. And while QAL has a wide variety of medicinal uses—both simple and controversial—ingesting poison hemlock can quickly kill someone with no known antidote.
I think I need to weed it out ASAP!