Council erects ‘poison parsnip’ warning signs in Carnlough

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The council has erected warning signs at two Carnlough locations after a plant thought to be the potentially lethal “poison parsnip” was spotted on Carnlough beach.

Officially known as hemlock water dropwart, the plant is highly toxic to both humans and animals.

It contains the active poison oenanthotoxin, which is particularly highly concentrated in the plant’s roots.

Dog walkers have recently reported sightings of the plant at Carnlough beach and at Trooperslane in Carrick on social media.

The plant has been washed up on local beaches on several occasions in the past, particularly after stormy weather.

In February 2015, a two-year-old German Shepherd died after picking up a poison parsnip on Drains Bay beach.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has now put up signs at Carnlough Beach and Carnlough South Bay.

A council spokesperson said that while they hadn’t received any reports of poison parsnip on local beaches, council was “aware of some social media postings.”

He continued: “Warning signage has been erected today in two places: Carnlough Beach and Carnlough South Bay.

“The roots of the Hemlock Water Dropwort or ‘poisonous parsnip’ as it is sometimes known, can sometimes be found washed up on beaches, and is potentially dangerous to dogs if eaten or chewed on. The root looks like a parsnip but it must be noted that many roots of plants look like parsnips and it is extremely difficult to identify a plant solely from its root.

“Our advice is not to pick any wild plants and mushrooms unless absolutely certain on the species, and be vigilant as to the types of material pets are picking up when out walking in the countryside and on beaches especially at the mouths of rivers.”