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a genus of plants of the family Umbelliferae. Coniums are biennial herbs with bare, branching stalks and threefold (sometimes fourfold) pinnate leaves. Their blossoms are small and white and are gathered into compound umbels. There are four species, all wild, in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the USSR there is one species, spotted conium (C. maculatum). Its stalk is 60 to 180 cm in height, with reddish-brown spots on the lower part. It is widespread in the European USSR (including the Caucasus), Western Siberia, and Middle Asia, in deserts, near dwellings, along roads and fences, along river banks, and in the mountains up to the intermediate zone. The whole conium plant is poisonous. (It contains the alkaloid coniine.) There are recorded instances of mass poisoning of cattle by this plant.