Hemlock water-dropwort has a fascinating history. Its very toxicity once held it in high esteem when capital punishment was more common, and easy methods of execution valued. A “sardonic” smile, is a direct reference to the widespread use of HWD in Sardinia where a decoction of its roots were used to administer death sentences.
When learning to forage, it is more important to familiarise yourself with poisonous than edible species. Though truly dangerous species are much rarer than some people think, there is no room for complacency as there are a dozen or so seriously toxic plants and fungi that are common in the UK.