A potentially deadly plant root that is ‘strong enough to kill a cow’ was found on a Cornish beach after Storm Emma.
Hemlock water dropwort roots, also known as dead man’s fingers, have been exposed due to cliff erosion on Porthkidney Beach in Lelant, near St Ives.
The root closely resembles a parsnip, but the leaves look and smell like parsley.
A warning has been issued for people not to eat them or let their dogs gnaw on the poisonous plant.
Joshua Quick, a foraging expert, said he is removing them from the area, but more are likely to fall from the cliffs.
Mr Quick told CornwallLive: ‘These will kill you or your dog if eaten. A small portion of the leaves can kill a person and this is a plant every forager needs to be familiar with.
‘The roots are the most toxic part and one of these roots is enough to kill a cow.
‘It’s the first time I’ve seen the roots exposed like this and there are lots of them.
‘They are often called dead man’s fingers and for good reason. It’s very unusual to see them growing on a cliff like that, usually they grow in or around water and riverbanks.’
Hemlock water dropwort can prove fatal to humans by attacking the nervous system and causing the body to shut down.
There have been rare cases where humans were poisoned when the plant’s tuberous roots were mistaken for vegetables.