Glorious Hogweed

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{#logo}  Also known as Cow Parsnip and Keck.

  BELONGS to the Carrot Family of plants

  LOOKS LIKE - A stout, upright, stiffly hairy stem with up to 20 branches of white or pink flower heads. Grows up to 72 inches (180cm). A much bigger plant, The Giant Hogweed, can reach up to 13 feet (4m).

  HAS FLOWERS FROM June to September

  CAN BE SPOTTED - on roadsides, in hedgerows, woods, banks, ditches and grassy places throughout Britain and most of Europe.

  STORY - The hollow stems were used by children, including me, as pea shooters. Maybe they still do.

  POLLINATORS - Insects, usually bees, wasps and flies. Bright orange soldier beetles feed and mate on the flat flower heads in July. The unpleasant smell also attracts the carpet beetle so keep it away from your carpets.

  NAME - The generic name' Heracleum' comes from a legendary Greek warrior hero Heracles. The Romans called him Hercules who believed hogweed had medicinal value. Hogweed used to be gathered for pig fodder hence it's name.

  USES FROM THE PAST - The young, boiled leaves were considered a delicacy which tasted like asparagus. Beware! Both hogweeds have a substance which sensitises the skin leading to blisters especially in very hot weather.

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