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Old 08-24-13   #11
feranaja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Edge of the forest
Posts: 25,682

Default Re: Giant Hogweed???

...all the Apiaceae need to be very well understood before anyone harvests them at all! At least Heracleum mant.(giant hogweed) is pretty similar to poison hemlock which every one of us needs to know well; that in itself is a disincentive to touch it, if you know enough to be wary of large plants with spotty stems and the characteristic umbrella-shaped flower...but, it looks a fair bit like cow parsnip as well, to the untrained eye; all of these species are best left alone! I don't think many will confuse Heracleum with Daucus - Queen Anne's lace - a benign, and useful medicinal plant, or with wild parsnip or angelica, which have greenish flowers - but again, don't mess with the Apiaceae!! The whole family is for highly experienced wildcrafters only. People mix up poison hemlock and Queen Anne's lace, which I find unfathomable, but they do, every year - and, they die.


I really like eattheweeds.com, but Daucus carota (wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace) does NOT always have the purplish flower in the center - a more reliable key is the hairy stem, which none of the other more dangerous Apiaceae have. "Queen Anne has hairy legs" we were taught - and if you pull her root, it smells like carrots. But then you've killed the plant.
Really, just be careful if you aren't sure how to key out a species.
"if you don't know how to think, you'll always be a one legged man in an ass kicking contest".

Shane Parrish
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