A plant poisonous to humans and animals has been discovered in a Norfolk village.

Hemlock, which has been found growing in the village of Shotesham near Poringland, is not overly common and is very easily confused with other species such as cow parsley.

All parts of the plant are toxic if consumed but it can also cause a painful rash if touched and especially if it makes contact with the eyes.

Liam Smith, from the Norfolk Non-Native Species Initiative, said: "Most pets would avoid the plant but some species of livestock can be vulnerable if the plant is growing where they have access to it.

"Removing the plant should be carried out using protective clothing, a mask and gloves and the best method for control is digging the plant out - although herbicides would also work.

"It's important if the plant is removed to keep a close eye on the area in subsequent years as seeds can remain dormant for up to five years in the soil."

READ MORE: From birds to beetles: 5 rare species spotted in Norfolk

Last summer a two-year-old boy from North Elmham ended up in hospital after taking a bite out of the poisonous plant.

Megan Joseph was sitting in her garden with partner Richard McKay and their son, Richard junior, when the toddler picked up what looked to be a white flower and decided to have a taste.

They were able to get the boy to spit the plant out but feared the damage could have been done and immediately phoned 111.

Miss Joseph said at the time: "We ended up having to take Little Richard to A&E where he was observed for five hours and thankfully was okay - but the doctor told us if he had swallowed the whole thing within two or three hours he could have ended up with paralysis or in cardiac arrest."

Hemlock has umbrella-like clusters of white flowers through June and July with purple-spotted stems and an unpleasant, mousy smell.

It prefers damp places and can grow in huge colonies on waste ground, riverbanks and ditches, but can also be seen along roadside verges.