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Siberian Hogweed

Heracleum sphondylium sibiricum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, riverbanks, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Similar in appearance to Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) of which this plant is a subspecies of. The umbels in which the flowers live are 5 (2 inches) to 20cm (9 inches) across. The petals of the outer flowers are unequal and there are no lower bracts present. Pollinated by insects.
The flattened fruits are oval in shape. They are winged with dark streaks.
Large, 1 to 3-pinnate leaves. Toothed leaflets. Biennial.
Other Names:
Cow Parsley, Siberian Cow Parsley, Wild Parsnip.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Heracleum sphondylium ssp. sibiricum, also known as Siberian cow parsnip or wild parsnip, is a subspecies of the Heracleum sphondylium species. It is native to Russia and Central Asia. The plant is similar in appearance to the common cow parsnip, growing to a height of 2 meters tall, with large, finely divided leaves and clusters of small white flowers. It prefers damp, shady habitats such as woods, meadows, and along riverbanks. It is known for its medicinal properties and has been traditionally used to treat a wide range of ailments, including respiratory problems, skin conditions, and fever. However, it is considered toxic if consumed in large amounts and should be handled with care. Like the common cow parsnip, the sap of the plant contains a photosensitizing chemical that can cause severe skin reactions in some individuals, particularly if exposed to sunlight.


Siberian Hogweed, also known as Heracleum sphondylium sibiricum, is a plant species that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is native to the temperate regions of Asia and Europe and is widely distributed across these continents.

Appearance and Characteristics

Siberian Hogweed is a perennial plant that can grow up to 2 meters in height. It has large, flat-topped umbels of white flowers that bloom in mid-summer. The leaves are large and lobed, with a rough texture that can cause skin irritation when touched. The stem is hollow and ridged, and can reach up to 10 cm in diameter.

Habitat and Distribution

Siberian Hogweed is commonly found in moist habitats, such as meadows, riverbanks, and wetlands. It is also found in disturbed areas such as roadsides and waste areas. It is widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia, including countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China.

Impact on the Environment

Siberian Hogweed is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America. It can grow rapidly and outcompete native plant species, reducing biodiversity and altering the composition of ecosystems. The plant also has a high reproductive rate and can produce thousands of seeds per plant, which can be easily dispersed by wind, water, or human activity.

Health Hazards

Siberian Hogweed contains toxic sap that can cause severe skin irritation and blistering when exposed to sunlight. This condition, known as phytophotodermatitis, can result in long-lasting scars and hyperpigmentation. The sap can also cause eye damage if it comes into contact with the eyes. Therefore, it is important to wear protective clothing and gloves when handling the plant.

Control and Management

The control and management of Siberian Hogweed involve several methods, including physical removal, chemical control, and biological control. Physical removal involves uprooting the plant and its roots, which can be challenging due to the plant's large size and deep root system. Chemical control involves the use of herbicides to kill the plant, while biological control involves the use of natural enemies, such as insects or pathogens, to control the plant's growth.

Siberian Hogweed is an invasive plant species that can have negative impacts on ecosystems and human health. Therefore, it is essential to manage and control the spread of this plant to preserve the biodiversity of our natural habitats.

More Information about Siberian Hogweed

Siberian Hogweed is closely related to other invasive plant species, including giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) and common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). These plants can be easily confused with each other due to their similar appearance and toxic sap.

Giant hogweed, in particular, is a highly invasive species that poses a significant threat to human health. Its sap contains a toxic chemical called furanocoumarins, which can cause severe skin irritation and blistering, similar to Siberian Hogweed. However, the effects of giant hogweed are more severe and can result in long-term scarring and even blindness if the sap comes into contact with the eyes.

Siberian Hogweed is also known for its medicinal properties, with its roots and leaves used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, arthritis, and skin disorders. However, due to its invasive nature and potential health hazards, the use of Siberian Hogweed in medicine should be approached with caution and under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

Siberian Hogweed is an invasive plant species that can have significant impacts on ecosystems and human health. It is important to manage and control its spread to preserve the natural habitats and protect ourselves from its toxic sap.

Siberian Hogweed is a fast-growing plant that can quickly colonize disturbed areas, such as construction sites, roadside ditches, and abandoned fields. This can result in the displacement of native plant species, leading to a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function.

The plant's ability to outcompete other plants is due to several factors, including its large size, high reproductive rate, and deep root system. The roots can grow up to 2 meters deep, allowing the plant to access moisture and nutrients that are unavailable to other plants.

In addition to its impact on ecosystems, Siberian Hogweed can also have economic impacts. The plant can reduce land values and make land unusable for certain activities, such as agriculture or recreation. The cost of managing and controlling the plant can also be significant, particularly in areas where it has become established.

Effective management of Siberian Hogweed requires a coordinated and integrated approach that involves multiple stakeholders, including landowners, government agencies, and community groups. This may include targeted herbicide applications, physical removal, and biological control measures.

Furthermore, public education and awareness programs can also play a critical role in managing the spread of invasive species such as Siberian Hogweed. Raising awareness of the plant's impact on ecosystems and human health can help individuals take steps to prevent its spread and report sightings to appropriate authorities.

In conclusion, Siberian Hogweed is an invasive plant species that can have significant ecological, economic, and human health impacts. Effective management and control strategies, combined with public education and awareness, are essential to prevent its spread and preserve the natural habitats in which it occurs.