common hogweed identification

And can I ask – you say don’t use any part of common hogweed raw. Identification Guides. No, I haven’t tried the sugar thing – but I will! 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. Best wishes, adding flavour to other things i’m pickling), rather than doing a whole load on their own. 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. Heracleum sphondylium sphondylium Heracleum sphondylium, commonly known as hogweed, common hogweed or cow parsnip, is a herbaceous perennial or biennial plant, in the umbelliferous family Apiaceae that includes fennel, cow parsley, grou… I thought the flower bud itself was a bit overpowering, and wasn’t to my taste, but I tried the very top bit of the stem which was amazing! ), the sap acts on contact, so shouldn’t spread. In favour of the identification of the Giant Hogweed is that these plants have reached this height in about six months. The dry seeds also work extremely well in drinks and cocktails. 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. He just came into contact with it somehow in outdoor play in a rural area. However a mil tingle/irritation occurred on my tongue for an hour after. 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. 🙂 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. Thanks for your very informative post. Hogweed Seed Parkin Cake Recipe April 3, 2020. The type species ssp. Are you keeping it secret? But this probably says more about Scottish weather than the properties of the plant! the ones in seed? However, you mentioned Hogweed is rather variable so perhaps this could have been one of the subspecies. However, I am intrigued! 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! Just recently back from a trip to Fife where I happily munched on two of your recommendations, Sea Aster and Pepper Dulse, both of which were superb. 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. The dry seeds of a very close relation to common hogweed, heracleum persicum, is widely used in Iranian cuisine, where the spice is known as golpar, and used in savoury dishes. 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. 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.”. Hi Mark is there anything toxic in giant hogweed seeds? My 11 yr old son is currently undergoing treatment with plastic surgeons for a severe 3rd degree plus toxic burn on his hand, believed to have been caused by contact with common hogweed. It is, confusingly, occasionally also called ‘hogweed’ although it is not the same species as the British common hogweed but closely related. This is something i’d probably do some practical research on (on myself! How to identify. Its interesting to note that this happened in Yorkshire, quite far North in UK terms. I would like to point people towards a blog i just wrote with some additional photos which I hope might be of use to anyone trying to identify the plant. I had my first taste of common hogweed a couple of weeks ago – it was definitely an experience!! My experience of this was that it was utterly delicious, probably the most delicious plant I have eaten straight from the forest floor. Remember, whatever one comes across has as much right to be here as you and has had many millions of years to develop forms of protection: you don’t eat fresh Nettle or Foxglove leaves or Puffer Fish with impunity! The dry seed casings can be ground and used in baking – try adding them to flapjack or they make a sublime parkin. Edible. 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! The flavour reminds me of raw caper buds in that you can taste the goodness but a bitterness kicks in and spoils it. How long would you recommend pickling them for? I hope that this unpleasant experience for your son may inspire interest in, and respect for, plants, rather than fear and mistrust. 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. I still have problems going out in the sun now. Yesterday I picked some green seedheads and flowers and want to pickle them. So, what to look for when identifying Giant Hogweed….. This was the first time I got a blister from picking it in 15 years of harvesting. So now you’ve read all of these warnings, you are probably wondering why you might bother? I add the whole green casings as “flavour bombs” in curry mixes, or pickle them and toss through salads with smoked eggs or pickled fish. They tend to illicit a strong adverse reaction to anyone with a celery allergy (which are on the rise in Europe – see Monica Wilde’s excellent article on this linked above). In a nutshell, the type of coumarin that leads to phototoxicity (linear furanocoumarinsis, psolaren) is not destroyed by heat. All Recipes; Share a Recipe; ... Identify Common Hogweed. Also, plants of the same species can vary somewhat. 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. Hogweed displays large, white umbels of flowers, and has hollow, hairy stems. You just need to spend some time tuning in. This is a plant that demands, and rewards, some long term investment of your time: it is biennial (2 year growth cycle) or perennial, so if you spend a year observing it, the following year you will know where the shoots will emerge (near the base of the previous year’s skeletal stems), and feel much more comfortable harvesting and using them. Introduction to the Carrot Family for Foragers. Many thanks, Guy (in Lothian), Thanks Guy. As mentioned in one of my comment replies above, there are several different strains of common hogweed throughout the UK and discussions with fellow foragers and botanists seems to show a higher incidence of adverse phytophotodermatitis in the South. Hogweed has been implicated but no proof. 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. General advice is avoid avoid avoid! Identifying Mushrooms and Plants, Hi again, I’ve read that giant hogweed stems don’t have grooves in them! See more ideas about hogweed plant, plants, giant hogweed plant. 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. Children and people with sensitive skin or who are susceptible to sunburn should be extra careful. I’d be interested to hear more about your experiences eating giant hogweed. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a highly toxic invasive plant but it’s also relatively easy to identify because of its humongous size. Enjoy! With Giant Hogweed you don’t have to break the plant and rub the sap on you for the effect to take place either. Common hogweed seems to prefer roadsides to riversides, but it will grow almost anywhere. Hi Mark, Common hogweed, or eltrot (H. sphondylium), is native to Eurasia and has naturalized in eastern North America. There was also another, shorter specimen 50 or so yards away which seemed intermediate, and according to the source I’m using (Stace’s Flora of British Isles) hybrids do occur, mainly around SE Scotland and London area. The photographs below are all of giant hogweed, showing some of its key features. I recommend wearing gloves if you are handling it on any but the most overcast of days. Common hogweed seed umbel, with close-up of the seed pods. Ah, right, yes. 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. This includes at school, sports, swimming et cetera, not easy for an 11 year old. Regular hogweed leaves are more round, in contrast with the jagged edges of the giant hogweed leaves. 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. My guide to the the apiaceae family for foragers is here: I have some green ones I plan to pickle – will I have to cook them afterwards? ), but (gladly) giant hogweed is hard to come by in my area. Are dried giant hogweed still dangerous, i.e. I usually add the seeds to pickling solutions (ie. 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. Giant hogweed is one of several UK plants to steer clear of. I’m enjoying wild garlic, nettles, dandelions, wood sorrel swee cicily and more right now and for the first time tried common hogweed. 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. 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. 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. Hi Sarah, Here it is: ... To keep yourself safe check out the identification of both plants by following the link below. Concentration is highest in the green seeds. Good speech Mark. This is for reasons of taste, and to avoid while the plant is photosynthesising more strongly, with associated higher level of fouranocoumarins that can cause adverse reactions. Look for last years stems to help you I also have some papery seed cases that I’d like to toast and grind up to put in raw sweets. Many plants are often misidentified as giant hogweed - the most common plant being cow parsnip. So the process I use with capers is soak the buds for 5-6 days changing the water regularly and then making a vinegary brine to put them in. Thanks for the info Ralph, much appreciated. They are generally too tough to use as a vegetable but are fantastic infused into aromatised wines and bitters and makes a great stand-alone schnapps. I’m not recommending it, but I did once nibble a giant hogweed seed. Where would it stop? If you consider the variations in human phenotypes, no wonder there is some variation within plant species! As the best edible part comes generally before the other features, it can be challenging for common hogweed novices to feel comfortable with their identification during spring. He continues to have to wear a glove covering his hand at all times in daylight. I too have been “burned” by hogweed adjacent to the public highway in St. Clement, Cornwall. And how do you identify them? We had amazing sunshine for most of time we were there and little shade so used plenty of factor 50 suncream and wetsuits. Height: 50–150 cm (20–60 in.). Last years common When the plant starts to die back for the year, you will still be able to harvest the disk-like seed pods  (correctly known botanically as schizocarps) which have an extraordinary taste. Compiled from various sources by Galloway Wild Foods. If you do taste the green seeds raw, I recommend you take just a tiny nibble first time round. Here in Malham I have a large hogweed type plant growing beside the Pennine way footpath. Giant hogweed has large leaves, spotted leaf stalks and a hollow, reddish-purple stem with fine spines that make it appear furry. That is its habitat; you will rarely find it far from a fresh water source. I have been foraging for a few years now but not yet tried hogweed. Could be Confused With Giant Hogweed, Giant hogweed is a lot larger than hog weed, the … I live in Belgium. Cow parsnip is much smaller, reaching heights of 5-8 ft, and does not have the purple blotches along the stem. All Identification Guides; Submit an Identification; The Foraging Map; Recipes. or let it grow? It’s mature, so 5′ – 6′ tall, and they go from plant to plant, pushing through the other vegetation to get to them. But they are all still alive! On visiting the site (a local viewpoint), the only likely Umbellifer I could find (the name changed to Apiaceae after I did botany) keyed out to Wild Parsnip. Giant hogweed has hairs all over the stem and underneath the leaves, angelica is fairly hairless. 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. Education, information and knowledge are the best tools against misadventure by young and old. Mark. If it is giant hogweed and its bordering the path, some remedial action may be sensible. More details on both plants can be found in our Hedgerow Food Guide. I’m a Persian food blogger. Mostly they are a bit much for use raw, so I tend to infuse them into the vinegar first any, by heating. Have you ever tried it? Thanks for your comment and i’m really sorry to hear about the injury to your son. I am going to start with Hogweed seed, Sea Buckthorn berries and Yarrow leaves infused in the strongest spirit I can find. “I did some research on the subject last year, in the scientific literature. May 10, 2015 - Explore Judi Farley Pennell's board "Giant Hogweed Poisonous & causes blisters", followed by 1361 people on Pinterest. Giant hogweed, pictured, has slightly shinier leaves, more hair in a ring around the stem where the leaf joints are, and more flower stems, and is much larger when mature. 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". Just academic curiosity. Dear Nicola Common Hogweed. Thanks for the extra insight into use in Persian food. As if their sheer deliciousness isn’t enough, common hogweed is extremely good for you, being packed with  minerals, and comparing favourably in lots of departments with other “super foods” – both wild and cultivated. Rummage among the older leaves to find the “self-forced” shoots with long, fat, juicy stems. This may reflect higher incidence of aggressively phytophototoxic strains as well as higher population densities and also higher levels of light intensity. Try infusing them into vermouths and gin, or adding them as a mulling spice to winter warmers. This summer (June) I’ve been inspired to search a little more as whilst driving through a copse on a minor road (but a main route in rural Somerset) we passed a verge with abundant (normal) Hogweed plus one specimen of Giant Hogweed. Thanks so much for all of that, Mark! Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy … Read more about the wild food, allergies, and theÂ,,,,, 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. Brambles? Mark. Care should be taken when picking common hogweed as chemicals in the sap can cause phytophotodermititus – especially in strong sunlight. That would be an easy clincher for me. 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. I would be most interested in hearing more about your research. Hi, mark I have all the hogweed seeds dried but can’t find your recipe for the delightful Parkin on your website! Thanks for this information and sorry to hear about your children. As I understand it (and i’m far from being a scientist! Hogweed shoots fried in butter on an open fire is one of the great wild food treats of the year. Coumarin binds with RNA and DNA. She was only 1-2. How ignorant most folk are now of all things natural like being exposed to the natural world including dirt, bacteria, the elements and hard physical work from an early age. Hi Monica Hogweed (Heracleum Sphondylium) How to Identify Hogweed. The stems have fine needle like hairs that will cause irritation simply by touching it. Giant hogweed has 50 to 150 separate ‘spokes’ per flower head, angelica has at most 30. Any other ideas? Every description I’ve found is pretty much the same and no article mentions both? Hogweed is one of the most common of the carrot family, becoming the dominant white flowered roadside umbellifer of summer and early autumn in most of the UK, after the cow parsley has dwindled and before wild angelica takes its place in the succession. None of this makes the young shoots any less good to eat when cooked. There are some issues for the forager here of course – especially with species that already exhibit some irritant traits. The seasonal appearance of common hogweed, and a friend’s query bring me back to this website. Awareness is key. Name also: Keck (compare Cow Parsley), Common Hogweed, Eltrot (USA) Family: Carrot Family – Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) Growing form: Biennial or perennial herb. This isn’t to say that your Mum hasn’t had a further reaction – like a celery allergy or similar. Nettles? 28th April 2020. The blister/burn could have come from the hogweed. I think the answer must surely be in education. They should be good for months under vinegar. Stupidly I relied on memory and ate it raw. I have heard them variously described as tasting of orange peel, cardamon, coriander, ginger, liquorice and  burned cedar – probably a combination of all of those is a fair reflection. Visited your website after hearing a talk about foraging on the Food Programme. Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum I hope your comment here will help increase people’s awareness of potential dangers, especially to children. It’s great to watch and their enthusiasm is encouraging me to taste some too! Also I’d like to say Human Beings have hurt and devastated Nature a million times more. Also, the flowers smell of pig poo! Note the slightly larger petals around the outside of the umbelules. People need to know about this plant and the potential danger, then make decisions about handling it. They aren’t for everyone – a bit love-hate – polarising opinion about 70 (love) to 30 (hate) when people taste them on my walks, some people finding them unpleasantly “soapy”. 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. Hi Antoine, I’m afraid I have no idea where you might buy hogweed in Belgium. As noted above, both should be handled with care – especially in bright sunlight, as their sap can photosensitive the skin, with potentially painful and alarming consequences. A bit like asparagus 🙂 I was wondering, how big can the plants get before you’d avoid the stem? Fully grown common hogweed leaf. The numerous flower umbels on each flower stalk can measure metres in diameter altogether. 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. The blisters have burst now leaving reddish/brown itchy marks. 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. Wishing him a speedy recovery and many happy years of athletics, tennis, swimming and perhaps even a little botany…. Its leaves are broad, hairy and divided. I’m planning to write a blog post about hogweed’s culinary uses in Persian cuisine soon. I alerted the children to the danger. Thanks, Jemma. They were making ‘boats/rafts’ out of grasses etc to race in the stream next to our tents and my son especially had used the stems from the plant that had a hollow, hairy stem and clusters of white flowers (which I now think may be Heracleum sphongylium). The cows absolutely love the hogweed. I am pleased to say that my son has not suffered any major damage or scarring following his severe burn after contact with hogweed. While picking mushrooms from a heathery banking, I suddenly noticed a lot of insects around my head. There was a drive to clear it all out as children were tempted to use the 2″ wide stems as ‘telescopes’, with unfortunate serious consequences. 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. This can result in unpleasant and painful burns. Hi Mark, If the hairs or sap come into contact with your eyes they can cause blindness! The level of burning he has suffered sounds closer to reports I have heard from giant hogweed after people have handled or strimmed it during the summer without adequate protection. I have just added an extra line with regard to children to the text too. Neither my son or daughter have food allergies or hayfever. You are very welcome to share. I have talked about, harvested, cooked and eaten hogweed with school groups with no adverse consequences. 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. Brave of you to have tried even just nibbling a seed, I’m not sure I would try that myself. Some people are more subject to toxic effects. Yes. I’ve gardened all my life, never wash my hands whilst doig so but eat my sandwich and cake with filthy fingers. protecting your skin and wearing gloves is still recommended though. Add them peeled to stir-fries, deep fry in tempura batter or to pickles. The sweetness tempers the bitterness, though I have to say, I quite like some bitterness in my “flavour-bombs”! There is definitely the possibility that individual plants are more toxic than others. What a wonderful website! 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!” Me, I have had my first taste just the other day–really enjoyed it! Giant Hogweed is almost exclusively a riverside plant. 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. It tends to be found on river banks and alongside canals; the photo below was taken alongside the Frome in May 2009 and gives an idea of how tall it can get, although it can grow to 5m. Caution when harvesting hogweed, e.g. With regards to your final comment, yes, I am very careful of what I touch and what I eat, and advocate this approach to anyone interested in foraging. How do we tell the difference between giant hogweed and angellica. I’ve never had or heard of anyone in Iran having trouble with hogweed. Now then, Mum was gardening 2 weeks ago without gloves on…weeding…we live in Devon/Cornwall. But the plant itself is only 5ft high. Based on your information, about your’s son burns that couldn’t be Common Hogweed. Does more burny = less eatie?! Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) isn’t a native plant, it was introduced into the British Isles in the 1800s and has rapidly spread. Later, while teaching in Somerset, we had an enquiry from the local Council about a boy with blisters on his arms. My son was not specifically playing with or handling the hogweed. Visiting Galloway for Galloway Wild Foods Events, Corona Virus and Galloway Wild Foods Events. I am often asked how to tell common hogweed from its notorious big brother, giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Even when young, its eventual size is apparent by its huge sharply serrated leaves, spikey haired purple tinged leaf stems, giant flower umbel and stem “skeletons” (which usually persist from previous years), and its tendency to dominate all other ground cover. Should I destroy it to avoid compensation litigation 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. © 2020 Galloway Wild Foods. Here is the case of an 11 year old boy in Alaska who experienced burns after coming in contact with H. lanatum. All gone now but having done further reading I see the advice is to cook it first. I’d be surprised if the council were to take responsibility for “controlling” common hogweed. Ground hogweed seeds (heracleum persicum) is a very commonly used spice in our kitchens as well as in our traditional herbal medicine. 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. Not recommended for eating at this stage, but young shoots can often still be found emerging alongside mature leaves. We have had difficulty getting advice about how long he must keep this area covered. The other difficulty is that where it does grow, it has often been sprayed with glyphosphates. Thanks Brenda – that’s interesting. It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. 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. The burning sap seems to develop in older specimens of all hogweed as they reach maturity and photosyththesise more intensively. Stir through some sorrel leaves at the last minute to add some acidity to cut through the butter. I have talked about, harvested, cooked and eaten hogweed with school groups with no adverse consequences. Both H. maximum and H. sphondylium are often referred to as cow parsnip. There is not a lot as you may imagine, although a lot more in edible plants with much lower concentrations of the toxic compounds (e.g., celery). 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? To avoid confusion, these species are sometimes referred to as American cow parsnip and European cow parsnip, respectively. Giant Hogweed and Common Hogweed are harmful to humans and their pets. 🙂. Best Wishes,R. Some never get bigger than a foot or two, some very young shoots can be very fat. Look for: Please see my notes and photographs at the end of this post for how to distinguish common hogweed from giant hogweed. GM maize? Required fields are marked *. Good question. As always, caution is recommended when picking members of the carrot family and you should base your identification on at least three distinguishable features. Washing it off before exposure to bright sunlight removes the threat – that is to say the burns result from the combination of the sap and direct sunlight. Two different phenotypes of common hogweed. Your email address will not be published. For more information on how to identify Giant Hogweed Click … It, too, causes allergies in some people and it is advised to avoid if a celery allergy is know, and to do a tolerance test if not. 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. I’m not sure. I’m glad to learn of the edible qualities of common hogweed, which the plan that burned me seems to be, but am equally wary… I wasn’t wearing gloves when emptying my mower basket and must have rubbed my side. The shunning and vilification of plants is more likely to lead to misinformation and ignorance. Common Hogweed is a relative of celery, the allergen causing the greats number of food allergies in the UK. I wondered as this might lead to confusion in diagnosis? He has to spend his summer after he leaves primary school with his hand fully bandaged, avoiding any contact with water, and no sports. Cheers, Mark. It is in flower from June to September, and the seeds ripen from July to October.

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