Sommier & Levier
Heracleum mantegazzianum, commonly known as giant hogweed, cartwheel-flower, giant cow parsnip,"hogsbane" or giant cow parsley, is a plant in the family Apiaceae. In New Zealand it is also sometimes called wild parsnip, or wild rhubarb. It typically grows to heights of 2–5.5 m (6 ft 7 in–18 ft 1 in). Superficially, it resembles common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), Heracleum sosnowskyi or garden angelica (Angelica archangelica). It is phototoxic and considered to be a noxious weed in many jurisdictions. Giant hogweed is native to the Caucasus Region and Central Asia. It was introduced to Britain as an ornamental plant in the 19th century, and it has also spread to many other parts of Europe, the United States and Canada.
The sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters, long-lasting scars, and—if it comes in contact with eyes—blindness. These serious reactions are due to the furocoumarin derivatives in the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of the plant.
Giant hogweed has a stout, bright green stem that is frequently spotted with dark red and hollow red-spotted leaf stalks that produce sturdy bristles. The hollow stems vary from 3–8 cm (1.2–3.1 in) in diameter, occasionally up to 10 cm (3.9 in). Each dark red spot on the stem surrounds a hair, and large, coarse white hairs occur at the base of the leaf stalk. The plant has deeply incised compound leaves which grow up to 1–1.7 m (3 ft 3 in–5 ft 7 in) in width.
Giant hogweed is a biennial or monocarpic perennial,:827 the plants dying after they have set seed. It usually flowers in its second year from late spring to mid summer, with numerous white flowers clustered in an umbrella-shaped head that is up to 80 cm (31 in) in diameter across its flat top. The plant produces 1,500 to 100,000 flattened, 1 cm long, oval dry seeds that have a broadly rounded base and broad marginal ridges. Tall dead stems may mark its locations during winter.
Introduction to Western Europe and North America
|Parts of this article (those related to distribution) are outdated. (July 2013)|
Giant hogweed was among many foreign plants introduced to Britain in the 19th century as ornamental plants. It is now widespread throughout the British Isles, especially along riverbanks. By forming dense stands, they can displace native plants and reduce wildlife interests. It has also spread in the northeastern and northwestern United States and southern Canada. It is equally a pernicious invasive species in Germany, France and Belgium, overtaking the local species. It was introduced in France in the 19th century by botanists, where it is much appreciated by beekeepers.
In Canada, the plant has been sighted in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and in isolated areas of Newfoundland. It has been seen in Quebec since the early 1990s. The plant's spread in Ontario began in the Southwest and was seen in 2010 in the Greater Toronto Area and Renfrew County near Ottawa.
The native cow parsnip, Heracleum maximum, very common in Newfoundland and northern Ontario, is often misidentified as giant hogweed. Because of its similarity to cow parsnip, numerous false reports of giant hogweed are reported annually to local OMNR offices in Ontario. People who suspect that they have giant hogweed should confirm identification by checking the stems and comparing their plant with descriptions of cow parsnip. Giant hogweed stems are green with obvious purple blotches from which stiff white hairs arise. The native cow parsnip has green (usually) to purplish (rarely) stems that are ridged but unspotted, and covered with fine white hairs. Size is not a reliable trait to differentiate these two species, since cow parsnip, growing in a rich site, can reach 2+ metres [10–12 ft.] in height, while giant hogweed sometimes grows only to heights of 1.5 metres [7–8 ft.]. Giant hogweed flowering heads (compound umbels) also branch frequently, forming clusters of several flowering head 80+ cm [2.5 ft.] across.
Giant hogweed is a phototoxic plant. Its sap can cause phytophotodermatitis (severe skin inflammations) when the skin is exposed to sunlight or to ultraviolet rays. Initially, the skin colours red and starts itching. Then blisters form as it burns within 48 hours. They form black or purplish scars that can last several years. Hospitalisation may be necessary. Presence of minute amounts of sap in the eyes can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness. These reactions are caused by the presence of linear derivatives of furocoumarin in its leaves, roots, stems, flowers and seeds. These chemicals can get into the nucleus of the epithelial cells, forming a bond with the DNA, causing the cells to die. The brown colour is caused by the production of melanin by furocoumarins. Authorities advise that children should be kept away from giant hogweed, that protective clothing, including eye protection, should be worn when handling or digging it, and that if skin is exposed, the affected area should be washed thoroughly with soap and water and the exposed skin protected from the sun for several days.
Predators and countermeasures
Because of its phototoxicity and invasive nature, giant hogweed is often actively removed. In the UK, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to plant or cause giant hogweed to grow in the wild.
Hogweed is regulated as a federal noxious weed by the US government, and is therefore illegal to import into the United States or move interstate without a permit from the Department of Agriculture. The USDA Forest Service states pigs and cattle can eat it without apparent harm.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has had an active program to control giant hogweed since 2008, including reporting, database maintenance, and crews for removal or herbicide control.
In 2011, Maine state horticulturists, describing the plant as "Queen Anne's lace on steroids", reported the plant has been reported at 21 different locations in Maine, with the number of plants ranging from one to a hundred.
In popular culture
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2015)|
Heracleum mantegazzianum is the antagonist of the song "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" by the progressive rock group Genesis. The song is included on their album Nursery Cryme. It heavily exaggerates the actual events that followed the plant's introduction into Britain, and attributes it with with intention and evil will towards mankind. The track also features in Season 1, Episode 1 of British TV show Rosemary and Thyme, "And No Birds Sing."
- Other Europe invasive species Heracleum sosnowskyi and Heracleum persicum
- Native Europe hogweeds Heracleum sphondylium and Heracleum sphondylium ssp. sibiricum (eltrot)
- Species that can be mistaken for tall invasive hogweeds (wild parsnip, garden angelica, wild angelica)
- John H. Wiersema. "USDA GRIN taxonmy". Ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- "(New Zealand) National Pest Plant Accord 2008" (PDF). 2008. p. 61. Retrieved 2015-06-21.
- "Species Profile- Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)". National Invasive Species Information Center, United States National Agricultural Library.
- "Giant Hogweed". the Ontario [Canada] Federation of Anglers & Hunters.
- "Giant hogweed" (PDF). Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. USDA/University of Georgia. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
- Thomas Forney, Glenn Miller, and Beth Myers-Shenai (2009). "Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Risk Assessment for Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum" (PDF).
- Stace, C.A. (2010). New flora of the British isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 450. ISBN 9780521707725.
- "Giant hogweed information". NetRegs. U.K Government. Archived from the original on 2007-02-23.
- "5 things you need to know about toxic hogweed". CBC News.
- Halfnight, Drew (July 13, 2010). "Giant weed that burns and blinds spreads across Canada". The National Post.
- "Toxic weed discovered in Ottawa". CBC. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
- Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 Section 14 and Schedule 9, Part II.
- "Invasive and Noxious Weeds: Federal Noxious Weeds". Natural Resources Conservation Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- "Giant Hogweed". NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 2015-06-21.
- "Beware Giant Hogweed brochure" (PDF). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
- "State confirms poisonous plant sightings". The Portland Press Herald. May 22, 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-21.
|Wikispecies has information related to: Heracleum mantegazzianum|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Heracleum mantegazzianum.|
- Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum): A Federal Noxious Weed U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Identifying invasive plants: Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and other invasive plants on NetRegs.gov.uk
- Photo of blisters caused by the plant (Graphic) from the Finnish Environment Institute (Finnish)
- Surveys for natural enemies of giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) in the Caucasus region and assessment for their classical biological control potential in Europe