Nature's Secret Larder - Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)


Bushcraft Blog

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
30th March 2009

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)


Giant Hogweed Leaves

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed in trees

Giant Hogweed with dog

Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum

This huge plant (up to 6m) is breathtaking. Identification is certainly not a problem once fully grown, put simply, you know it when you see it. I have seen some huge examples in my time. It resembles what one can only imagine as being a prehistoric plant, looking more like a small tree. The flowers are sometimes a couple of feet or more wide! It has been responsible for many cases of poisoning in the past, as it resembles the edible common Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium in its early stages of life, until it outgrows its smaller brother by several meters that is. Many councils, wildlife Trusts and other conservation organisations will try to eradicate this giant ‘weed’ because of the threat it poses to humans. Personally I like to see it, and feel a much better way than removing it, is to educate people about it.

POISONING – Giant hogweed has a photosensitive juice which will cause burning to the skin and mouth if exposed to light. This can cause life-long changes to skin colour and may leave you with permanent sensitivity to sunlight. In fact, many members of this genus contain mutagenic, carcinogenic and phototoxic properties, so it’s well worth avoiding.


Kris on 09/08/10

Chuck & Claudette, Thank you for the kind words, i'm very pleased you like the website :)

Claudette Woods Tolles on 08/08/10

this is an amazing and great website... i have a concern regarding this since i have heard about it.. thanks for protecting our children,pets and adults equally... excellent website...

chuck baptiste on 25/07/09

Thanks Kris for this helpful and insightful web-sight. As a wilderness canoe tripper in Ontario and Quebec your info is a gift!

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