My first post is of a few photos I took while going for a quick afternoon hike in San Roque Canyon near Santa Barbara, CA.
Beautiful coastal oak trees provide shade along part of the trail in San Roque Canyon. Not far from this spot are mortars ground into the boulders by the native Chumash Indians. The bowl shaped mortars provided the Chumash with a means to grind acorns, taken from the oak trees.
As I started hiking, I couldn’t help but notice being surrounded at times by the highly toxic plant poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). A “Tea” made from this plant was used in ancient Greece as a form of execution, it is reportedly the method which killed famed philosopher Socrates. Not surprisingly a very small amount of this plant, if ingested, can be fatal. It is a good idea to learn to identify it just for this reason. Poison hemlock is not a native to North America, but was introduced from Europe and is now considered an invasive species. It is similar in appearance to the even more lethal native water hemlock (Cicuta spp.). Neither poison hemlock or water hemlock are related to the evergreen hemlock tree (Tsuga spp.) which does actually make a pleasant tea.