If you see this plant in your yard or in a park in Minnesota, do not touch it!

Toxic plants are already growing in Minnesota

Minnesota is already home to several nasty, invasive plants that can cause everything from allergic reactions to rashes and inflammation of your skin if you touch them, and now a new highly toxic plant spreading across the U.S. has been spotted here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

We've heard for a few years now how you want to avoid plants like garlic mustard or wild parsnip, both of which the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says are fairly common in our neck of the woods here in southeast Minnesota.

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Here's another toxic plant that also been spotted here

Now, though, comes word from USA Today about another plant that can be nasty to touch-- and downright fatal to ingest: poison hemlock. And, wouldn't you know, the DNR says it's been spotted in parts of Minnesota; specifically, in Olmsted and surrounding counties.

Now I'm no plant expert, but I'm guessing if a plant has the word 'poison' in its name, as poison hemlock does, it's not anything you want to mess around with, right? While the DNR says it's already been spotted along highways, fences and the edges of farm fields here in Minnesota, USA Today says the plant has recently migrated to more populated areas, which is why officials are trying to get the word out.

The DNR explains it like this:

Poison hemlock can be found along streams and roadsides, and in wet areas, fields, and disturbed habitats. This plant is highly poisonous. Do not ingest any parts of the plant as it is poisonous to humans and livestock.

Why you don't even want to TOUCH it

Even touching poison hemlock without gloves can be a problem, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture says its sap can react with the sun and cause blisters and welts if it comes in contact with your skin.

While poison hemlock plants have clusters of white flowers and fern-like leaves. It can grow three to eight feet tall and has purple spots or splotches along the stem. It's sometimes confused with Queen Anne's Lace, but it's those purple splotches that give it away.

And because it's part of the parsley and carrot family, its leaves can also be confused with parsley, while its roots can be mixed up with parsnip or carrots. But don't be fooled, though, ingesting any part of this plant could be fatal for you or your pets.

Yes, poison hemlock has been spotted in southeast Minnesota

This interactive map shows that poisonous hemlock has indeed been spotted here. So if you see it along a road or park, the USA Today story suggests calling the agency in charge (like the city or Rochester, Olmsted County or Minnesota DNR.) But most importantly, don't touch it unless you're wearing protective gloves, goggles and long sleeves.  And if you think you see it in your yard, the story says it's best to call a professional service to have it safely removed.

If you'd like to avoid poison hemlock, most of these tried-and-true Minnesota attractions are a good place to go. Keep scrolling to see how many you've already been to, and maybe plan a trip to those you haven't seen yet!

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