Giant Hogweed: Biology, Impacts and Management

Edited by Corin Pratt and Marion Seier.

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Giant hogweed is a leading invasive plant across Europe and North America, causing numerous ecological impacts as well as severe phototoxic reactions when coming into contact with skin (© Pexels)

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a monocarpic perennial herb, native to the Caucasus region. Since the late 1800s, giant hogweed has spread extensively across Europe and in eastern and western parts of North America following its likely initial introduction to the continent as an ornamental curiosity as early as 1917. Hogweed is an extremely successful invader in part due to its prolific seed production and growth rate. These attributes coupled with its large size allow giant hogweed to significantly alter natural environments and plant community structures. In addition, the plant is hazardous to humans and leaves riparian banks susceptible to erosion as it dies off in autumn.

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