Giant hogweed, Wheatfen, Elizabeth Dack 1/3
Giant hogweed, West Runton, David North 2/3
Giant hogweed, West Runton, David North 3/3

Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum

Characteristically large, the non-native plant giant hogweed is an umbellifer (member of the cow-parsley family), with flowering stems typically 2 to 3 metres high, reaching an impressive 5 metres in some instances, its basal leaves often 1 metre or more in size. As a result of its sheer size, this plant shades out many other native plant species. Giant hogweed is a toxic plant with poisonous sap, which can cause serve blistering if touched.
 

Conservation status

Giant hogweed is a non-native plant which out-competes native plant species, preventing them from growing. Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence to “plant or otherwise cause giant hogweed to grow” in the wild.

Details

Did you know?

Giant hogweed is a toxic plant and a public health hazard. The stems, edges and undersides of the leaves have small hairs which contain poisonous sap. The slightest touch causes the skin to become photo-sensitive, so that exposure to sunlight causes severe burns and blistering. For this reason, protective clothing must be worn when dealing with this species.

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Related reserves

Related questions & advice

What is an alien wildlife species?
Giant Hogweed How do I recognise it?

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