Saturday, June 22, 2013

Featured Plant Species: Giant Hogweed

 Giant Hogweed flowers display the typical umbel pattern of plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae)

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is often in the news these days. This introduced and invasive species has been found in BC in the southwest corner of the province, where the very tall plants are easily spotted along roadsides and in old pastures and fields.  Plants range in height from 1.5 m to an impressive 5 m.  Because this species is phototoxic, and can cause serious burns and painful blisters, it is targeted by invasive species councils and municipalities in BC for eradication. The related, but much smaller and native, cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) may also be photo toxic (Ganders. pers. com. 2011). It is very similar in appearance and the two species can overlap in height.

If you find giant hogweed, we recommend that you do not handle the plant. Take protective measures to remove it--cover up and wear gloves and be careful not to come into contact with the stems, flowers or leaves. 

Find out which other plant species in BC are invasive or problem species. Visit the E-Flora BC Invasive, Problem and Noxious species list.

To view the atlas pages for other members of the carrot family of plants on E-Flora BC, type 'Apiaceae' in the Quick Search box on the home page.

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