Ed Golson Outdoor Education


Scientific Name:  Heracleum mantegazzianum

Description:  This is an invasive species to Michigan and should be eradicated.  It looks similar to wild carrot plants and to cow parsnip plants.  The difference is that the giant hogweed can grow up to 15 feet tall and the other two plants only grow 5-6 feet tall.  Also, the hogweed's flower can be 20 inches in diameter whereas the other plants are less than half that.

Habitat:  Hogweed was originally native to Eastern Europe and western Asia. It was introduced in many parts of the world for use in ornamental gardens. They escaped and have quickly spread ever since. These plants currently live in the northeastern part of the United States, but it can be found Giant hogweed. Photo courtesy of Oregon Dept. of Agriculture in many other areas of the country. Hogweed prefers wet areas such as in drainage ditches and by the edges of forests. 

What is the problem? Hogweed reproduces quickly and shades out the area around itself preventing other plants from growing. It spreads easily and is hard to kill. Even worse, the sap from these plants can cause serious irritation to the skin if exposed.  If small animals eat the leaves of it, they can die. 





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