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Wednesday, 12 January 2011 12:14

Giant Hogweed

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This not-so-friendly giant causes problems for the environment and human health

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Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Description

Originates from Caucasus MountainsGiant_Hogweed_Hiker_Buntzen_Lake-1

  • Monstrous height, reaching up to 5 m tall
  • White flower heads reach up to 1.5 m in diameter, bloom in mid August
  • Leaves are shiny and large, with coarse, jagged edges.
  • Stalks have purple blotches, streaks or spots, and stiff bristly hairs.
  • Usually found growing on agricultural lands, riverbanks, vacant lots, and along roadways.

Consequences of Invasion

  • Outcompetes other plants and reduces suitable habitat for wildlife
    • Produces copious seeds (100,000 seeds per plant)
    • Dense taproot keeps producing leaves
  • Direct impact on human health.
    • The sap causes extreme dermatitis in the presence of sunlight.
    • Contact can lead to welts, rashes, blistering, and scarring that can last up to 10 years after contact.
    • If sap gets into the eyes, it can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.

Prescription for Control

  • It is best to let a professional remove this plant for you
  • If you are going to remove the plant yourself, always wear protective, waterproof clothing, gloves and safety goggles (WorkSafeBC has a great video here)
  • Remove any flower heads into a plastic garbage bag
  • Cut the root crown 3-4 inches below soil with a sharp spade.
  • Continue to monitor the area for several years
  • Once removed, plant native or non invasive plants in the affected area.
  • NEVER compost giant hogweed after removal. Dispose of in a landfill or incinerator.

 

More Information Available:

Check out our video on Giant Hogweed Identification

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Read 9053 times Last modified on Friday, 10 February 2012 11:48
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