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Giant hogweed - Heracleum mantegazzianum, has been a naturalized plant in the United Kingdom since the 19th century when Victorian gardeners first brought it in from its native regions of central Asia the Caucasus region for its ornamental value. Despite looking similar to our native and innocuous cow parsley - Anthriscus sylvestris, the giant hogweed has some fairly serious phototoxic properties and as such is considered to be a noxious weed in this country.
So what does giant hogweed look like?
The giant hogweeds flowering heads branch frequently, forming clusters of several flowering heads, each one more than 80 cm across. The blooms are upwards facing and mostly white, although pink forms sometimes appear.
Giant hogweed usually forms a rosette of jagged leaves in the first year before sending up a flower spike in the second year before going to seed. However research has shown that the giant hogweed can also have a recognized perennial life cycle as well as the accepted bi-annual cycle.
For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO RECOGNISE GIANT HOGWEED
WHAT IS GIANT HOGWEED