Giant Hogweed Burn

Giant Hogweed vs Cow Parsnip: What is the difference?

We have been receiving many reports of giant hogweed in the area. Thanks very much folks for your reports. To date, all reports have been identified as cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum), a common native plant species.

Here is some information to assist you in accurately identifying cow parsnip and giant hogweed.

Cow Parsnip (native)

  • Height 5-8 feet
  • Stem 1 to 2 inch diameter, deeply ridged, fine hairs
  • Leaf: compound, 2 to 2.5 feet across, fuzzy hairs
  • Flower: white flower no larger than a foot across


Giant Hogweed (invasive)

  • Height 15-20 feet
  • Stem” 1-3 inches in diameter, purple blotches, stiff hairs
  • Leaf: compound, deeply incised, appear somewhat glossy, up to 5 feet wide
    Giant Hogweed Leaves
    Giant Hogweed Leaves
  • Flower, white flowers, up to 1 meter wide
    Giant Hogweed Flower
    Giant Hogweed Flower

    IF you see Giant Hogweed please report the sighting.

    WARNING:  Do not touch Giant Hogweed, its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. If you do come into contact with this plant immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and keep the area away from sunlight for 48 hours. This plant poses a serious health threat; see your physician if you think you have been burned by Giant Hogweed. Cow Parnsip is photo-toxic as well, but not as severe. Be sure to that you are covering all your skin if you are touching Cow’s Parsnip.