THE deadly plant hemlock has been found growing wild in Arrow Valley Park.
The poisonous plant, famous for killing the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates and countless people since, was spotted by local resident and amateur botanist Claire Davies.
“I went along to the Mayor of Redditch’s Great Get Together in Arrow Valley Lake and had taken my dog with me for a walk prior to the event,” she said.
“Not long into the walk I came across a massive hemlock plant, about 7ft high, right by the footpath near the weir.
“Continuing, I found some smaller hemlock mixed in with some similar looking plants right by the children’s playground.”
Claire, from Headless Cross, immediately alerted the many borough councillors who had gathered for the Great Get Together picnic.
“I pointed out the hemlock, and explained what a dangerous plant it can be,” said Claire.
The plant by the playground was torn out and disposed of there and then but one week later Claire was astonished to find the 7ft specimen still by the weir.
“This was one week after the councillors were made aware of it – hemlock growing in a public space should surely be treated with a sense of urgency.”
Hemlock has white flowers that grow in clusters, and its stem has purple spots, although it is quite rare in the UK.
All parts of it are poisonous if eaten and even just touching it can cause an allergic reaction.
The poison works by affecting the nerve transmissions to your muscles, causing respiratory failure.
A spokesperson for the borough council said they had been made aware of the issue and were dealing with it.