Giant hogweed

Дата канвертавання25.04.2016
Памер11.64 Kb.

(Heracleum mantegazzianum)

iant hogweed can grow 15 to 20 feet tall.

  • The stem and leaf stalks are hollow and hairy with reddish-purple blotches. The stem contains a clear watery sap.

  • The leaves are deeply cut and can be up to five feet wide.

  • Giant hogweed flowers from mid-May to July, with numerous white flowers clustered in a flat, umbrella-shaped head that is up to 2-1/2 feet in diameter.

  • The fruits are flattened, 3/8 inch long. They split into two winged parts with one seed in each.


Two native plants, cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) and coltsfoot (Petasites palmatus) are sometimes mistaken for giant hogweed, but there are some key differences:

Cow parsnip is smaller, usually growing to only three to five feet, compared to giant hogweed’s 10 to 15 feet.

  • The leaves are not so deeply incised and are slightly hairy on the underside.

  • The purple blotches and fuzzy hairs on the stem are less pronounced on cow parsnip than on giant hogweed.

Coltsfoot blooms in early spring and is much smaller than giant hogweed; it has more rounded leaves and smaller, more rounded flower heads. It is in the composite family.
Distribution: There are at least thirty giant hogweed sites scattered around Clallam County; many are old homesites.


  • Hazardous to humans because skin contact with the sap followed by exposure to sunlight can cause painful burns and permanent scars

  • Crowds out desirable native plants which supply food and habitat for wildlife.

Giant hogweed is a Class A Weed.

Control is required county-wide.


  • Giant hogweed prefers rich, damp soil, but can spread along stream and roadsides.

  • Most plants die after they flower and produce seed, which can take four years or more. Individual plants may produce additional crowns which continue to flower and set seed.

  • It spreads rapidly, mainly by seed. One flower head can produce thousands of seeds which are distributed by wind, water, animals or people.

  • Giant hogweed can develop a massive root system that persists and is difficult to remove.

Prevention and early detection are the best means of control.

  • Do not buy or plant giant hogweed.

  • Avoid introducing soil or gravel from areas known to have giant hogweed.

  • Remove seedlings when young because they can usually be pulled easily.

  • Replant the area with a desirable (preferably native) plant species, to discourage reinfestation.

  • Monitor the site for several years; promptly remove new seedlings.


HANDPULLING can control small infestations, but the entire root must be dug out or the plant may grow back; care should be taken to avoid skin contact with the sap.

REPEATED MOWING during the growing season will weaken the plant and prevent it from producing seed, but the roots remain alive for many years when plants are kept from flowering. Known sites should be monitored and mowed as long as plants continue to appear. Avoid skin contact with the sap that may ooze from mown fragments.
BIOLOGICAL CONTROL: Cattle and pigs will eat the plant without ill-effect. Trampling while grazing also discourages growth.
HERBICIDES can be effective but should be applied with care. Read the label to check that you are applying an herbicide in the right place, to the right plant, at the right time, and in the right amount. For perennial weeds, long term control requires stopping seed production and attacking the weed’s root system. Translocated herbicides, (ones that move throughout a plant’s system), such as Roundup (glyphosate) and Crossbow (2,4-D + Triclopyr) are recommended; testing shows that Roundup may provide the best control.

  • Apply to actively growing plants that are at least 18 inches tall.

Note: Roundup is non-selective, and will kill target and non-target species alike.

Crossbow targets broadleaf plants without damaging grasses.

Warning: Giant hogweed often grows close to water and any herbicide application near or over water requires a permit and a specially licensed applicator.

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