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Experts warn about poisonous plant aggressively spreading across Pittsburgh area

PITTSBURGH — A poisonous plant is aggressively spreading across Pennsylvania and researchers with Penn State Extension are warning people, especially those with livestock, to be careful.

People want to get outdoors and enjoy parks, but you may want to be careful because among the greenery could be a toxic plant that is spreading across the region.

It looks just like a weed, but researchers say the poison hemlock is popping up along highways and in parks, and even in the parking lot of Starbucks in Wexford.

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The plant is toxic to both livestock and people.

"It is a poisonous plant. It can kill animals, even a 1,000-pound animal," said Rose Reilly, biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers. "It can cause rashes when you touch the plant so there's a chance it could be dangerous both internally and externally."

The plant's appearance will change in the weeks ahead.