Update: Washoe County Parks says the potentially dangerous plant was removed where it was thickest and the trail has reopened, but they still want people to be cautious of flood damage to the trail.


Between a walking path and the Truckee River, a hiking trail at Dorostkar Park has been closed due to flood damage, but recently, a new threat has emerged as well.

Poison hemlock is a harmful weed that has been growing near the trail, and Colleen Wallace Barnum with Washoe County Parks says the plant can be deadly if ingested.

"It is a toxic poisonous plant and I would definitely call poison control," says Barnum.

Luckily the plant is not as harmful to the touch. Frank Baglian is a Reno resident who ran into the plant last year.

"It didn't hurt or it didn't itch,” says Baglian. “My legs were just bright red."

Poison hemlock has white flowers, purple spots on the stem and leaves similar to a fern.

"This time of the year it's growing quite tall because of all the moisture we've received," says Barnum.

Barnum says hemlock grows in moist areas throughout northern Nevada, so trails and paths near the Truckee River are a common home for the weed.     

Now that the plant is flowering, it will begin to seed. Barnum says the county intends to remove the weeds, before they begin to spread any further.

"The earlier we can get on it, the better we can control the reproduction," says Barnum.

Barnum says it’s not just poison hemlock that people and pets shouldn’t be eating. She says it's a good rule of thumb to not consume anything growing in local parks and trails.