Recent media stories on Giant Hogweed have drawn attention to this invasive plant and the fact that it can cause skin irritation, blistering and burning upon contact. This has raised local public concerns and interest in the plant.
According to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, the plants reported in Alberta to date have proven to be Cow Parsnip.
Cow Parsnip is:
- a native plant, very common in Strathcona County
- very similar to Giant Hogweed – both plants are members of the Carrot family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae)
- both can be found in similar habitats
There have been no confirmed Giant Hogweed plants identified in Strathcona County.
| Giant Hogweed view photos|| Cow Parsnip view photos|
- 15 to 20 feet tall
- stem is 1 to 3 inches in diameter
- stem has many purple spots and stiff bristles
- leaf can be up to 5 feet wide
- umbel-shaped (rounded white flower clusters in which the individual flower stalks arise from about the same point) up to 2.5 feet across
- compound, lobed leaves (single leaves with lobes that look like a hand and fingers), which are deeply incised
- 5 to 8 feet tall
- stem is 1 to 2 inches in diameter
- stem has a few purple areas and deep ridges, with fuzzy hairs
- leaf is 2 to 2.5 feet wide
- umbel-shaped (rounded white flower clusters in which the individual flower stalks arise from about the same point) up to 1 foot across
- palmate-shaped, compound leaves (looks similar to a maple leaf, or an open palm with fingers outstretched), divided into 3 segments
Giant Hogweed photos
Cow Parsnip photos
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development - Alberta Weed Monitoring Network
Alberta Invasive Plants Council (AIPC)