We grew this on the berm way in the back of our yard, since it has an unpleasant reputation for toxicity and skin irritation. In fact, after learning more about it from discussions here and elsewhere on the internet, we won't be letting this plant back into our garden - since it is monocarpic, our original plants died after blooming (two years after sowing). I removed occasional seedlings for the next few years, and it appears to be under control now. For all its evils in terms of toxicity and invasiveness, it is an interesting plant that I enjoyed watching for a season or two. The flower buds look like something out of Invasion of the body snatchers, and the leaves are just huge. Quite a bold plant - too bad it has such a bad attitude.
||10' or larger
This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...
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PlantLinks to other web pages about Heracleum mantegazzianum
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|louise||Sep 07, 2004||hello, I love this plant, it's so beautiful, I think if you just don't touch it with your bare hands nothing is wrong.....it keeps out unwanted people.
maybe you can send me a small one?????? or some seeds, they are difficult to get in Holland|
Hi Louise, thanks for your comments. I agree that this is fine for many gardens - just not for one in which small children roam around. If you'd like to trade for seed, please mail me.
|beatrice del Perugia||Jul 05, 2005||Can you please tell me where I can get this plant. I live in an isolated place where it will not hurt anyone. It is so beautiful and I remembert it from my garden in France when I was a child. email@example.com|
|Samuel Cody||Jul 21, 2005||This plant is very dangerous. Sap from this weed will cause severe burns, blisters and scarring if skin is exposed to sunlight. Temporary or permanent blindness will result if sap gets into the eyes. My advice is not to give seeds or plants to anyone. See following website for more information: http://www.conservationallianceny.org/education/hogweed.php firstname.lastname@example.org|
|jacob haner||Jul 25, 2005||I'll burn it for free and love it the whole time call! |
|Mattheus the Man||Aug 02, 2005||Don't purchase, plant and grow the giant hogweed! Sap of the hogwood burns and blisters your skin, if skin is exposed to sunlight. A legend tells, that even one small child is dead somewhere in Europe, because he/she had got severe, serious burning injuries. In my opinion the giant hogwood is very ugly plant, just like a fictional UFO plant named "Triffide". Do you know "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed", a song of Genesis in their "Nursery Cryme" LP?
Mattheus the Man from somewhere Europe. |
|Matthew the Man||Aug 02, 2005||PS. The giant hogwood spreads the seeds really badly. Crowds of seedlings grow elsewhere.... Let's destroy them all with a flamethrower and a root poisoner loaded with "Round-Up" poison.|
|beatrice del Perugia||Sep 09, 2005||The plant I remember in France was not toxic as I hear you describe. It was invasive because my father and our neighbor used to cut it by hand and no one ever said anything ab out toxicity. The plant I remember was an umbellifer called LA GRANDE BERCE DU CAUCASE. Does any one know what it was?|
|Karl||Sep 17, 2005||Beatrice the plant you describe is Giant Hogweed maybe your father had its less dangerous cousin in his garden, called Cow Parsnip, as they look very much alike and although Cow Parsnip is unpleasant it is not anywhere near as dangerous as Giant Hogweed, and as an aside it might interest you all to know that Giant Hogweed is so dangerous that it is illegal to grow it in some parts of the world, and others have active programmes to abolish it.|
|Alfredo||Apr 21, 2006||Hi!
I am searching some info about this plant. I has been introduced also in south-western Patagonia (Argentina) and I want to write an article about it.
I was wondering, do you know were does the "mantegazzianum" name cames from?
Anyway, nice page!!|
|Steven||May 18, 2006||Hi Rob. We have a large infestation of this in our back yard in rural NY. It definitely is Hog Weed by the pics I've seen on the internet. My family seems to have good resistance to its affects though. My girls, 11 and 13, have been known to chop it up just to see what it looks like inside. And I know I've handled it without protection many times. Despite the fact that it doesn't seem to bother us physically, I will remove it due to its intruding into our yard. My 13 year old daughter will probably miss it though.|
|Philip||Mar 19, 2009||Giant Hogweed is spreading prolifically (EXTREEMLY INVASIVE) & crowding out native flora all around Holland, France, Belgium & Germany.
As well as it's Phototoxicity (which i have experienced first hand,) nothing will grow in the deep shade created by it's large leaves.
FOR THE SAKE OF HORTICULTURAL CONSERVATION please DO NOT CULTIVATE in areas it is not native to!!!|
|Philip||Mar 19, 2009||...it's actually also classed as a NOXIOUS WEED in many parts of North America & Australia.|
|Kris||May 27, 2009||It is also considered a invasive and dangerous weed in Estonia. |
|Anna||Jun 06, 2009||Having a severe burn from this invasive plant-I was working near it and inadvertantly crushed a leaf then later brushed my hand against that same leaf-I must recommend that this plant be removed from any area where unsuspecting people (or pets!) can touch it. And since it is a voracious self-seeder get rid of it before it blooms. Sure it looks neat, (something along the lines of gunnera, a physically similar, but far more benign plant) but it's not worth the potential danger. I'm not kidding when I say my hand hasn't stopped itching for days, there's a hideous purple mark and going in the sun, say to the beach in this fine early summer, puts me in anguish in very short order, I could not imagine the distress this would cause a child in the same situation.|
|Lynn||Jun 26, 2009||My husband was recently burned by this plant in France. He was using a weed wacker so now has brown
spots everywhere the sap sprayed him...Planting this in your garden is like planting mines in your own garden.|
|Sandra||Jul 15, 2009||Too bad we watched this monster grow in our backyard, unaware of its dangerous bite. It did not look friendly from the first. What do we do with it now that it has bloomed? We live in London, Ontario and we have never seen anything like it before. The family who lived here before us had planted many unusual plants that are always surprising me and this one is truly a surprise but sadly a real nuisance.|
If it hasn't dropped seed, then you can simply dig it out, and probably won't have any further recurrence. It does self-seed somewhat, so you may find yourself removing remnants if seed has made it into your garden from previous years' plants.
|Joe||Sep 18, 2009||Sandra the best to do is remove the flower heads very carefully than spray the plant with 2% roundup. Monitor the area and reply roundup as needed. Make sure you wear a rainsuit and rubber gloves and eye protection. the tap root is very large and digging it out is not advised.|
|Jess||Jul 08, 2010||This story is making news right now is my region in Ontario, Canada - it says that not only does it burn the skin, but contact with the eyes can cause permanent blindness. Caveat Emptor... |
|Patti Newman||Jul 09, 2010||Thu Jul 8, 4:35 PM
OTTAWA (CBC) - Biologists and health officials in eastern Ontario are scrambling to contain an invasive plant that can cause blindness and severe burns.
Heracleum mantegazzianum, or giant hogweed, is a poisonous plant most recently found growing in Renfrew County, west of Ottawa.
"The concern is it's a very poisonous plant, in the sense that if you get any of the sap from this plant on your skin, it can cause severe blistering and very bad burns," said Jeff Muzzi, manager of forestry services for Renfrew County.
"If you should happen to get the sap in your eyes, it can blind you either temporarily or permanently."
He said the burns can cause permanent scarring and any areas affected will be sensitive to sunlight for many years.
"It [exposure] could be inadvertent," Muzzi said.
"You might not even know it's here, [just] walk into it and happen to break a leaf. The next thing you know, you've got these nasty burns."
He said it can take up to 48 hours after exposure for symptoms to appear.
This is the first time giant hogweed has appeared in Renfrew County, Muzzi said, though it has been found in the western provinces and southwestern Ontario.
"It spreads primarily by seeds," he said.
"Seeds can be carried by vehicles, by people, by winds it could be a bird. It could be any reason at all and I think every plant will produce something to the tune of 500,000 seeds, so the spread potential is pretty big."
The plant can grow up to six metres tall, with leaves as big as 1.5 metres across. It is identified by large purple blotches or striping on its stem.
To stop giant hogweed from spreading further, crews in Renfrew County are embarking on a weed-whacking campaign.
Officials also plan to send out brochures warning residents how to spot giant hogweed. Anyone who sees one of the plants is asked to contact their municipality.|
|ingorance||Jul 09, 2010||Why would you risk it just to you can have this plant in your yard. There is so much free space in Canada we can'T afford to let this get out of control. It is scary to think people think this is a great plant for yoru garden.
I dont understand why people must have this plant when you know how how invasive it is. I think its just like the Tiger trade. You want it so bad ur killing everything that is left|
|Iheartheracleums!||Jul 14, 2010||OK - what is happening in the Ottawa area right now is nothing short of mass hysteria!! My parents have had this plant in their garden for the better part of 30 years. I have several on my property as well. They are gorgeous - absolutely spectacular, and definitely the centrepiece of the garden. We've NEVER had a bad experience with it. If we need to prune it down we put on some gardening gloves, long sleeves and jeans to avoid direct contact! Otherwise, touching the plant with bare hands is totally harmless!!
Ottawa City Council probably has its panties in a bundle right now - panic! Panic! The alien plant from hell is coming to destroy civilization as we know it! Let's BAN it!!! (Ottawa's solution to just about everything). I can understand banning the planting of the heracleum in the wild where it can be invasive, but if someone chooses to keep it in his/her private garden that really is his problem and the city should not get involved and has no right to remove it!
BTW - despite the fact that in the wild the heracleum is known to be invasive, I have found that in the garden it sticks to its corner and does NOT attempt to spread. It is very large though - don't plant anything nearby - as it needs lots of space. But it's GORGEOUS and totally worth it if you have the space!
Finally - I was a small child when the heracleum was first planted at my parents' home. My kids were small when we planted ours. We have never kept it away from the children. The stalks are VERY hard! You can't break them on your own! You need a large knife, saw or cutting tool. A toddler can't just break a stem barehanded! No kid that I know has ever been inclined to cut, break, bite, or otherwise damage this plant. It's a huuuuge plant and kids are in awe of it!
|David Galbraith||Jul 15, 2010||There is a lot of media coverage this year. It peaks in June and July each year. I've been interviewed 9 times in the past week by radio and newspaper reporters. It's been hard to try to tone down the hysteria and get the facts out. Yes, this plant is a problem, but it's hardly running rampant across Canada. And, a lot of people are mistaking cow parsnip (H. maximum) for giant hogweed and fueling the media "flap." It certainly is a bad choice as a garden plant. According to Belinda Gallagher, RBG's Head of Horticulture, much better garden choices for southern Ontario for big structural plants would be:
Telekia speciosa – Giant Ox-Eye daisy – big leaves, in flower 2 m max
Anthriscus cultivar Ravens’ wing – ornamental Chervil
Myrris odorata - sweet cicely
|marg||Jul 20, 2010||How can you tell the difference between queen anne's lace and hogwood?|
The leaves are completely different - Queen Anne's lace is frilly, hogweed is massive.
|Maria||May 11, 2012||This horrible Plant showed up in my wooded Back Lot 4 Years ago. In late Summer when our Newfie brushes up against it he comes Home with 100 of Seeds stuck in his Fur.Last Year we wacked it down thinking that it could not reseed itself. WRONG. It came back stronger than ever. And there is to much of it to dig it out. HELP|
|John||Jun 09, 2012||Do not import, plant, distribute or touch this giant killer. Destroy any Giant Hogweed that you find. Remember, the soil around it will likely have seeds in it. Do not handle it without protecting all exposed skin. If you have any seeds, burn them. Don't "throw them out", they'll just become someone else's problem. Don't use the fruit as decoration.|
|patricia||Jul 06, 2012||im sitting here with all my hand red raw with massive blisters from handling this plants,my hand too sore to even touch,my hand looks like i put it in a pot of boiling water and i just handled it once,so just even to keep children safe dont........grow this plant|
|Marnik||Jun 08, 2013||At Iheartheracleums!:
"Despite the fact that in the wild the heracleum is known to be invasive, I have found that in the garden it sticks to its corner and does NOT attempt to spread."
This plant is very invasive, so having it in your garden will mean it spreads out beyond there as long as the soil is good.
I do understand what youre saying, but i dont agree. It's just unethical. A lot of people have a very toxic reaction to this plant, even only from the needles on the bottom of the leaves or those on the stalks. Its sap can cause blindness and scars to anyone who has to remove this invasive bastard of a plant.
Your kids may be lucky enough not to have a bad reaction to them, but maybe your neighboor will be covered in a blistering rash for two weeks after painstakingly removing this weed. Think of what happened to maria up there, you don't want that on your conscience.
Planting this is a big ugly middle finger to other gardeners in the neighborhood whose garden it might spread to.
To Maria; i advise you to hire a garderner company for this if you have the money. To do it yourself:
1. Gear up: long gloves, safety goggles, face mask or shady hood, rain suit. You want to protect yourself mostly from the juice an sunlight
2. Scythe them all down.
3. Remove the roots with a spade (not fun, can be skipped but less effective)
4. Wait a few weeks
5. When new sprouts start growing again, scythe them down again
6. Repeath this process until the plant is gone
If you cant do the above, or its too much work, at least remove all the flowers with a sharp knife on a stick. This will stop the plant from spreading and eventually kill it out.|
|Marnik||Jun 08, 2013||Maria, i forgot to say that a string trimmer with a knife head can work wonders if you have acces to one. Just gear up in long gloves, safety goggles, face mask or shady hood and rain suit again. Get out the string trimmer and kill those basterds en masse. Then keep removing the sprouts two-weekly or so with a machete or a knife (you'll need less protection).
The string trimmer is by far the fastest method, except from hiring a company.|
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July 10, 2010