Originally native to Turkey and Georgia, Giant hogweed was introduced as an ornamental to North America likely due to its significant height of 2 to 5 meters. It is a biennial or short lived perennial and reproduced by both seed and tuberous root buds.
Giant hogweed poses a threat to humans since the watery sap of the stem and leaf stalks can cause painful burns or blisters which later can result in purple or black scaring. Contact with the skin can also cause skin sensitivity to the sunlight.
It has been found growing in B.C. or Ontario and due to its potential to cause serious skin blisters with those who come in contact with it, Giant hogweed is classed as a Prohibited Noxious weed.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Seeds require exposure to winter temperatures to be viable.
• Control of Giant hogweed is best in the spring when plant leaves are smaller in size.
• Protective gear such as coveralls, gloves, boots, face and eye protection should be worn to avoid sap coming in contact with bare skin.
- Hollow stems, colored purple and green, covered with stiff hairs
- Alternate, compound leaves with sharply toothed leaflets. Leaves can be very large in size. Leaf stalks are spotted and hairy.
- Large white compound umbels characteristic to the Carrot family which the species belongs to.