Giant Hogweed

 

Giant_hogweed007_JHallworth_1

Image courtesy of the Invasive Species Society of British Columbia

Latin name:

Heracleum mantegazzianum

Native to:

Central Asia

Regional Distribution:

Giant hogweed is currently found in a very limited distribution within the Shuswap Region. In BC, it can be found in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, and central to southern Vancouver Island.

Description:

Giant hogweed has numerous small white flower clusters in an umbrella-shaped head, with stout, hollow green stems covered in purple spots. Dark green leaves are coarsely toothed in 3 large segments with stiff underside hairs, and lower leaves can exceed 2.5 metres in length. Giant hogweed can grow up to 5 metres in height at maturity and always flowers above 3 meters.  It is easily confused with native cow’s parsnip which typically flowers at around 2 meters and has smaller, less pointy leaves. Giant Hogweed VS Cow Parsnip

Control:

Warning: Giant hogweed stem hairs and leaves contain a clear, highly toxic sap that, when in contact with the skin, can cause burns, blisters and scarring. WorkSafe BC has issued a Toxic Plant Warning for Giant Hogweed that requires workers to wear heavy, water-resistant gloves and water-resistant coveralls that completely covers skin while handling the plants. Eye protection is also recommended.

Contact CSISS if you find this invasive plant. 

Fun facts:
To learn the difference between Giant hogweed and native Cow parsnip see below.