Hogweed

©Gillian Day

Hogweed

©Philip Precey

Hogweed

Scientific name: Heracleum sphondylium
Hogweed can be found along hedgerows and roadside verges, and on waste ground and rough grassland. It displays umbrella-like clusters of creamy-white flowers. It's native, unlike its relative, Giant Hogweed.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 2m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to August

About

Hogweed is a native plant (unlike its alien relative, Giant Hogweed) which is abundant in hedgerows, roadside verges, waste grounds and rough grasslands. As a member of the carrot family (an umbellifer), it displays large, umbrella-like clusters of creamy-white flowers between May and August (although it can flower all year-round) which are attractive to a range of insects.

How to identify

Hogweed displays large, white umbels of flowers, and has hollow, hairy stems. Its leaves are broad, hairy and divided. It is not as tall as Giant Hogweed.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The hollow stems of Hogweed were traditionally used in many children's games as water guns, pea-shooters and swords. Its sap is less toxic than that of Giant Hogweed (and some other umbellifers), so doesn't cause the same skin irritation.

How people can help

Although they might not look especially wildlife-friendly, our roadside verges, railway cuttings and waste grounds can provide valuable habitats for all kinds of plants and animals. The Wildlife Trusts are involved in many projects to make these places as beneficial for wildlife as possible. We have a vision of a Living Landscape: a network of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.