These emigrant alates (not pictured), migrate to Heracleum sphondylium (common hogweed). Its interesting to note that this happened in Yorkshire, quite far North in UK terms. I’ve been trying for years to convince some of the distillers i’ve consulted for to use it instead of angelica root, to no avail! It’s mature, so 5′ – 6′ tall, and they go from plant to plant, pushing through the other vegetation to get to them. Best wishes, A few of us are talking about taking matters into our own hands, in the meantime I can be pretty sure it hasn’t been sprayed to date (this year at least) but I’m not prepared to volunteer my services as a guinea pig. But they are all still alive! Size is the most obvious difference and by now giant hogweed would be two plus meters tall, angelica won’t generally get larger than 1.5 meters in it’s life. Just had this message from MJ, which seemed to get lost in my comments back end, but pasted in here as they are very interesting! I’m enjoying wild garlic, nettles, dandelions, wood sorrel swee cicily and more right now and for the first time tried common hogweed. But don’t let that put you off learning about them – your knowledge will, at worst, help keep you safe, and at best add a delicious, nutritious and abundant wild plant to your diet. Be very careful what you touch, and perhaps reflect a little on what you advise others to touch. I have informed the local council, and an officer has visited the area, which had not been maintained for over a year, I await some action. Common hogweed’s big brother Giant hogweed  (Heracleum mantegazzianum, also occasionally known as Giant cow parsley, Giant cow parsnip and Hogsbane), which should not be handled or eaten, is also discussed at length below. I’m developing my own mini forest garden at home, where I am letting nature come in. Learn something about what remains of nature before destroying it! The plant we picked was about 8 inches off the ground and about 1/4 inch wide…. Hope that helps. I too have been “burned” by hogweed adjacent to the public highway in St. Clement, Cornwall. Don’t be scared, be informed! Stem roughly haired, 5–20 mm (0.2–0.8 in.) A phenotype results from the expression of an organism’s genes as well as the influence of environmental factors and the interactions between the two. I am thinking of making some ‘wild’ bitters (à la Angostura) and wondering if you have any suggestions for currently easily available wild herbs and spices? No child has ever complained of any reaction to common hogweed, though I did find a blister on my hand the other day. As a precaution if you come across one of these plants and you are not sure which species it is, then just stay clear. The dry seeds also work extremely well in drinks and cocktails. Identifying Mushrooms and Plants, Hi again, I’ve read that giant hogweed stems don’t have grooves in them! Unfortunately instances of children getting burned after playing with common hogweed are not uncommon (the hollow stems make appealing pea shooters) – please educate them on potential dangers (see in the comments section below for further discussion of this, and read this excellent deep-dive into the chemistry of hogweed by my friend Monica Wilde if you want to know more.). However, I am intrigued! Heracleum persicum in the middle east, and heracleum maximum in N. America are closely related, and the seeds of these can be used in similar ways to those described below. I hope your burn clears up OK and you use your hard-won knowledge to help educate others, rather than wage war on a plant that has many beneficial uses for humans and infinitely more for the natural world. If no information is available I do not intend to become the first to try it, I have always given it a wide berth and will continue to do so, don’t worry! I am usually wearing gloves when I collect it but also wear a t shirt and collect armfuls of it and have had no problems with burns, and neither have the horses. I hope your comment here will help increase people’s awareness of potential dangers, especially to children. Common hogweed belongs to the same family as fennel, cow parsley, ground elder and giant hogweed - which is currently being dubbed "the most dangerous plant in Britain". The main stem of giant hogweed Children and people with sensitive skin or who are susceptible to sunburn should be extra careful. Our local variety’s leaves are like a very large, hairy Ground-elder with 3 lopes and with slight serrations. The photosensitive nature of hogweed(s) is just one consideration. Common hogweed, or eltrot (H. sphondylium), is native to Eurasia and has naturalized in eastern North America. Or would you only ever eat it from the very young shoots (before they’ve got the flower bud)? Many thanks, Guy (in Lothian), Thanks Guy. I agree with Mark that education is the most important thing. Hi Mark During summer, as the plant matures, the sap becomes more phytopohototoxic, and sunlight more intense,  and I restrict my handling to just snipping off seed umbels. Young hogweed shoots are one of my favourite wild vegetables, reminiscent of asparagus and parsley yet so much better – with a flavour all of their own. Thanks, Jemma. These are both leaves of heracleum sphonyllium and were growing only metres apart. The sap does not stop there though; it actually genetically alters that patch of skin so that all skin produced there for up to 7 years will have little protection from the sun. HAHAHA strimming we don’t use that word here, I had to google it, you mean trimming. That would be an easy clincher for me. ... Common Name : Giant hogweed, giant cow parsnip, cartwheel flower: Plant Type: Biennial or perennial: Mature size: 15 to 20 feet tall: Bloom Time: Summer: Flower Color: White: Identification . Have you ever tried it? The stems have fine needle like hairs that will cause irritation simply by touching it. I’m a quite a good forager but don’t know as much about UK plants so it will be really useful for me. You just need to spend some time tuning in. My experience of this was that it was utterly delicious, probably the most delicious plant I have eaten straight from the forest floor. None of this makes the young shoots any less good to eat when cooked. Read more about the wild food, allergies, and the spectrum of edibility here. It can cause burns, but not so serious to be covered for 7 years. Last years common Hogweed Stems should not be much more than 2 metres tall. Hi Mark, My son realises how lucky he is when others have such a widespread area, but his is a very severe burn. I’m a Persian food blogger. Heracleum sphondylium is a BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 1.8 m (6ft). The leaves have been known to … ), Mark Website by: Your email address will not be published. The sap is less of a problem when picking the young shoots and flower bud “parcels” (which are what you’re after) on overcast days in early spring, but you should remain aware and vigilant as the sap can persist on the skin. No common hogweed has appeared yet but if it does, it sounds like a plant I should cherish. We have become distanced from the plants around us, and often lack the knowledge to keep ourselves (and our children) safe. Common Hogweed is a relative of celery, the allergen causing the greats number of food allergies in the UK. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy … I’m based in West Cornwall. It is, confusingly, occasionally also called ‘hogweed’ although it is not the same species as the British common hogweed but closely related. Thanks for your very informative post. You could try Miles at – he supplies restaurants with wild food and may be able to help you out. Now then, Mum was gardening 2 weeks ago without gloves on…weeding…we live in Devon/Cornwall. The plant is self-fertile. Regards, MJ”. There are two distinct stages to the seed pods: green and juicy when first formed, then quickly drying to papery disks, Common hogweed seeds – newly formed and green, with pungent bitter cardamon and orange peel flavours. Summer colonies of Dysaphis lauberti on hogweed are often found as mixed-species colonies with Anuraphis subterranea , (see second and third pictures below) and/or Dysaphis newskyi , and are attended by ants which tent the colony on the basal leaf sheaths and root collar. Hi Sarah, Here it is: I think the answer must surely be in education. What an odd precedent to start destroying all plants that could conceivably harm a human. I have heard of one case of someone suffering an allergic reaction, but of the  thousands of people who have tried them on my walks, nobody has had any problem. Common hogweed seed umbel, with close-up of the seed pods. I have some green ones I plan to pickle – will I have to cook them afterwards? Just academic curiosity. Burn mother. I know some (experienced) foragers that have looked into food uses for them. Again, ignorance leading to unfortunate incidents is sad and I hope by sharing sensible information this can be reduced. We have had difficulty getting advice about how long he must keep this area covered. If they don’t have, i’m sure they’ll know where to get. Older leaves are not so appealing, but  make an excellent addition to a stock pot. I’m not recommending it, but I did once nibble a giant hogweed seed. Giant hogweed has hairs all over the stem and underneath the leaves, angelica is fairly hairless. Try infusing them into vermouths and gin, or adding them as a mulling spice to winter warmers. I also see that the ‘seeds’ differ in that the Giant Hogweed has oil glands slight swollen at one end, while the outer ridge of the seed may be slightly hairy. Cheers, Mark. Coumarin binds with RNA and DNA. I do use the green and the dry seeds uncooked with no issues. Giant hogweed has large leaves, spotted leaf stalks and a hollow, reddish-purple stem with fine spines that make it appear furry. Hope this helps your study, it is an impressive plant that councils are spraying indiscriminately in the belief that it is Giant Hogweed, I have had council workers on our small holding spraying where I had just planted some Willow whips; they did stop when asked, seemed shocked that we did not want it killing off., Thanks Liam, some great detailed pictures there. ), the sap acts on contact, so shouldn’t spread. If you consider the variations in human phenotypes, no wonder there is some variation within plant species! Recently read a British article about using black tea for sunburns and the ignorant author was all hoity-toi closing out the article with “…and i prefer earl grey tea”… well, upper crust twit of the year award goes to them! On the other hand, controlled doses are used in the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis, either in ointments or ingested. Common Hogweed – Identification, Edibility, Distribution February 27, 2012 Heracleum sphondylium, aka Cow Parsnip, Eltrot. I would be most interested in hearing more about your research. Ah, right, yes. Leaves of the giant hogweed plant are much larger (up to 5 ft wide), shiny and serrated compared to the smaller (2-2.5 ft wide) leaf of cow parsnip which is not shiny at all. Best Wishes,R. Compiled from various sources by Galloway Wild Foods. Wishing him a speedy recovery and many happy years of athletics, tennis, swimming and perhaps even a little botany…. The photographs below are all of giant hogweed, showing some of its key features. Can anyone tell me where I could buy Wild Hazelnuts Seeds (Corylus avellana ( non cultivar)). or let it grow? Giant Hogweed is a notoriously dangerous plant which though uncommon in the UK is something you are likely to see if you spend a lot of time walking beside rivers and streams. Yes, I think both are hogweed (h. sphondyllium), but there are 8 subspecies of it, so you might have one of them. So the rule is just stay away from the plant if you see it. Required fields are marked *. Stupidly I relied on memory and ate it raw. the safest thing to go by is that common hogweed has suede like hairs on the upper surface of the leaves, giant hogweed does not have these hairs and has shiny leaves. We will be much more careful with what plants we use in the future! The unopened flower buds are also delicious and come in their own wee packages which means you can steam them without losing any of their sensational flavour – a glamourous steamed accompaniment to fish. The shunning and vilification of plants is more likely to lead to misinformation and ignorance. It originated in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia and around Georgia. Its leaves are broad, hairy and divided. Visiting Galloway for Galloway Wild Foods Events, Corona Virus and Galloway Wild Foods Events. Thanks. Giant Hogweed, also known by its Latin name Heracleum Mantegazzianum, originated in Southern Russia and Georgia. Some never get bigger than a foot or two, some very young shoots can be very fat. My son was not specifically playing with or handling the hogweed. The first way to tell Giant Hogweed apart from its Common counterpart and Cow Parsley is its size. I pickle mine in a basic 3:2:1 solution – 3 water: 2 vinegar: 1 sugar (I use a pre-infused strong sugar syrup for this 3rd element – often with wood avens root) – plus any aromatics I fancy. Later, while teaching in Somerset, we had an enquiry from the local Council about a boy with blisters on his arms. Our grounds are covered in common hogweed in Spring through summer. In case you haven’t read it, I refer you to part of the answer I gave to a similar comment above: “…Education, information and knowledge are the best tools against misadventure by young and old. Lot of tips for bitters-making in my article on making foraged vermouth here: Although these names are no longer in regular use it is still commonly called 'Cow Parsnip'. In all cases their are a large number of variables in the plant (eg. So here’s what we know about it. Common Hogweed stems rarely reach more than a couple of inches in diameter.They are generally hairy all over, and though some will show purple colouring. I like the seeds best of all as a wayside nibble – just one really gets the taste buds partying – especially with a single sea buckthorn berry! Hi Mark, He just came into contact with it somehow in outdoor play in a rural area. I am very interested in the hogweed issues, and it’s that time of year again, with Giant Hogweed hitting the news today. The burning sap seems to develop in older specimens of all hogweed as they reach maturity and photosyththesise more intensively. A spectacular blistering rash developed on both palms necessitating medical attention. Good question. Buttercups? There are now eight known subspecies of Heracleum sphondylium (Common Hogweed) in the UK. Thanks so much for all of that, Mark! Common Hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium, Posted in When cut back, both common and giant hogweed (and many other plants) have a remarkable ability to regrow to a shorter height and still produce flowering heads. Here in Aberdeenshire we have a lot of Common Hogweed on our smallholding and I regularly collect it to feed to our horses who absolutely love it. However, if you work your way though all the important considerations below and invest a little time getting to know this plant, I guarantee it will reward you many times over. Common hogweed shoots at their prime edible stage, Common hogweed shoots at their prime edible stage – they tend to grow fatter and juicier near the sea. Giant hogweed, an invasive plant which can be very dangerous to humans, was introduced to Scotland by horticulturalists as an ornamental plant in the 19th Century but it soon spread out of control. Giant Hogweed – previous year’s flowering stem. A sweet substance resembling sugar forms on the dried stems. Many plants including parsnips and common hogweed contain phototoxic sap, but none in the UK are anywhere near as severe as that of giant hogweed, though on sunny days we recommend harvesting common hogweed or even parsnips with gloves on. Hi Antoine, I’m afraid I have no idea where you might buy hogweed in Belgium. 🙂. Please thoroughly look through the charts below to see the major differences between giant hogweed and cow parsnip, angelica, wild parsnip, Queen Anne's lace, and poison hemlock. I had my first taste of common hogweed a couple of weeks ago – it was definitely an experience!! Cow Parsley can grow to just over 1m (3-4 ft), Common Hogweed a bit taller, but Giant Hogweed grows up to 3m (almost 12 ft) and its umbels of flowers are pure white and can reach the size of 60cm (2 ft) across. Fascinating stuff, thank you. The danger with Giant Hogweed is not poisoning, but in the way that its sap reacts with your skin. If so many Humans had not gone away from nature we would know what to teach our children to keep them safe! Nicola i hope that your son now is okey! When still green the seed casings are pungently bitter so a little goes a long way. Giant hogweed can grow to more than 4 metres tall, with flower umbels that can reach 2 feet in diameter. I’ve been eating a fair bit of hogweed the last couple of years ,it’s very moreish once you have a taste for it , I usually cook the leaves from the young stems until nearly crispy as well as eating the stalks ,I gave a small portion to a friend and she loved the taste but a while later felt that she developed a mild histamine reaction in her mouth and gullet, but it went when she ate some other food. I’ve never had any skin reaction personally. I’d been playing around with the seed casings (technically schizocarps) of common hogweed (Heracleum sphondyllium) for several years before an Iranian lady on one of my courses tasted one and, developed a wistful look in her eye, and shouted “Golpar!” more than 2 metres tall. 28th April 2020. I tried to eradicate it two years ago and it has reappeared. It’s the same with anything.. Fire for example,,, Dangerous but extremely useful. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a highly toxic invasive plant but it’s also relatively easy to identify because of its humongous size. (See comments/thoughts on this above). I was really worried about identifying hogweed and wanted to add additional resources for anyone in the same boat. Add them peeled to stir-fries, deep fry in tempura batter or to pickles. Look for last years stems to help you identify the plant. I am a horticulture part time student (back to it in September!) Could be Confused With Giant Hogweed, Giant hogweed is a lot larger than hog weed, the … Fully grown common hogweed leaf. It would be interesting to know how the plant is regarded within it’s natural range and whether there is a tradition of it ever having been put to any use, culinary or otherwise. This is the stage at which the foliage is of least interest to foragers but unfortunately when they are most appealing to children for making pea shooters, swords etc from the stems. The rash produced from the sap of the native umbellifer is not so harmful. Does more burny = less eatie?! There can be some variation between plants in the sharpness of the lobes and divisions. Here in Aberdeenshire we have a lot of Common Hogweed on our smallholding and I regularly collect it to feed to our horses who absolutely love it. They learned about a fascinating and very useful plant, and how to mindfully harvest it, play safely near it, cherish its uses and respect its potential dangers.”. Hogweed Seed Parkin Cake Recipe April 3, 2020. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The reason I needed to identify it properly is that I have a small herd of dairy cows and they are currently grazing (browsing) some weed-filled river banks which, along with docks, nettles, creeping thistles, cleavers and some grasses (mainly cocksfoot) also has common hogweed (I now know it’s not giant hogweed!). A bit like asparagus 🙂 I was wondering, how big can the plants get before you’d avoid the stem? Read more about the wild food, allergies, and theÂ,,,,, But the plant itself is only 5ft high. It is not as tall as giant hogweed. Note the slightly larger petals around the outside of the umbelules. Last years common Safe identification of Common Hogweed is essential, but once you know both plants mistakes are hard to make. Knowledge, often hard-won, both shields us from harm and opens new opportunities. I usually add the seeds to pickling solutions (ie. It also has purple spots on the stem. …But this is based on the dangers of the sap, and also, no doubt, on fears around spreading the seeds. All gone now but having done further reading I see the advice is to cook it first. Also I’d like to say Human Beings have hurt and devastated Nature a million times more. The seed casings drop off the umbels naturally in the bag. Its hyper-abundant throughout the UK. Plants For A Future reports that you can obtain a natural sweetener from common hogweed  by tying leaf stems together and he leaf stems and leaving them to dry in the sun until they turn yellow. Many years ago (1970?) I am a little troubled by the bitterness so I plan to de-botterify them and then brine them like people do with caperberries in Greece where I am from. Hogweed has been implicated but no proof. Identification Guides. Jim, Thanks Jim. 🙂 The tabloids have been having a field day with Giant hogweed over the last few weeks, and due to the danger it poses; for once I think they aren’t far from the mark. They them strip all the leaves and tops off each plant, leaving just some stalks a couple of feet long sticking out of the ground. Is this true? Are dried giant hogweed still dangerous, i.e. Giant hogweed has 50 to 150 separate ‘spokes’ per flower head, angelica has at most 30. It occurs to me that if common hogweed can be even mildly phototoxic but cooking renders it safe, then might the same apply to Giant Hogweed? Mark. It has no hairs on it’s stem and the leaves are not spikey. I have been collecting and eating wild foods for over a decade and cannot believe what a silly mistake I made by not double checking first. Here in Malham I have a large hogweed type plant growing beside the Pennine way footpath. Where would it stop? How to identify. You can read more about hogweed spice and my fully adapted Hogweed Seed Parkin recipe here. Comment document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a269c89a6900955af0234722a9ec8193" );document.getElementById("db6653c337").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); All content and photography © 2020 Wild Food UK. GM maize? The type species ssp. I’ve been studying the seasonal and regional differences in hogweed and that info would help contribute towards a larger understanding. ), but (gladly) giant hogweed is hard to come by in my area. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies. There are some issues for the forager here of course – especially with species that already exhibit some irritant traits. I think I need someone more experienced than myself to show me the plant, so I definitely don’t confuse it with giant hogweed. Nature before destroying it you are probably wondering why you might buy hogweed Belgium. 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