Wanted for: being a highly invasive, dangerous plant which can form dense colonies, especially on river banks. This goliath among plants leaves native wild plants standing in the shade. Its sap contains chemicals which can cause severe burns to the skin.
Originally from: the Caucasus Mountains between Europe and Asia. Introduced as an ornamental by the Victorians.
Latin name: Heracleum mantegazzianum
What to look out for: The chunky shoots of this enormous carrot family plant appear around April. Giant Hogweed is much bigger than Common Hogweed – growing 3m high or more, and with more sharply-cut, jagged leaf edges. Giant Hogweed leaves can be over a metre long and the green stems can have purple blotches. The flower heads can be half a metre across. Look out too for the previous year's tall canes and skeletal flower remains. Do not touch if you see it.
Invasive powers: Each plant can create over 20,000 seeds which may stay viable and capable of germination for up to 15 years. It spreads easily along watercourses - so it's essential to control it.
Our work to control Giant Hogweed: Our survey work found that it has become well-established in the High Weald along stretches of the River Rother and Dudwell. We secured funding from the Environment Agency to help Upper Rother & Dudwell Farm Cluster members work together to control it. Landowners’ have a legal responsibility to prevent giant hogweed spreading to neighbouring land. We’ve also produced a Management Guidance Report for the Farm Cluster to help with its management.
If you suspect you have Giant Hogweed on your land, get in touch with us for advice.
- Giant Hogweed Management Guidance Report
- Download the Giant Hogweed identification sheet from the Non-Native Species Secretariat website.