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BRIEF: Could you help me out with some information about Hemlock?


QUESTION:
I have been asked to find out what was is special about Hemlock (and apt) in the context that it was used to kill Socrates the great philosopher. I was wondering if perhaps you could give me any incite into this.

ANSWER:

Socrates is traditionally thought to have taken a drink prepared from Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum or a relative). This is a common roadside or ditchbank weed in the US, but it is native to Europe. We also have our native Water Hemlocks (Cicuta species) which are far deadlier. Neither have anything to do with Hemlocks which are coniferous trees.