Poison parsnip fear at Carnlough beach

'Poison parsnips' otherwise known as hemlock water dropwart.
'Poison parsnips' otherwise known as hemlock water dropwart.

Pet owners are being advised to be vigilant 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.

In a separate incident on Tuesday night, a dog walker at Trooperslane in Carrick raised the alarm after spotting what she believed to be another of the plants on a stretch of sand.

The plant has 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 erected signs at Ballygally and Carnfunnock beaches and Drains Bay to warn of the potential risk.

The council has previously advised beach users to ensure that children and animals do not come into contact with the plant, which should not be handled.