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Wales, United Kingdom
Documenting one couple's attempts to live a more self-sufficient life.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Which hogweed?

Whilst browsing the 'ish website, I noticed that someone had shared a picture of cooked hogweed. Always interested in learning about new wild foods, I searched the internet for more information. What I found was a lot of pictures of giant hogweed, which is public enemy number two (Japanese knotweed being number one) of UK invasive plants, has such poisonous sap that getting it on your skin can give you problems that last for years, and is also, apparently, in my garden.

This information confused me, as giant hogweed did not sound like something you'd want to eat. With a bit more research, I realised that the edible one is common hogweed, not giant hogweed. So, which one do I have in my garden?

I'm pretty sure it's hogweed, but which kind?

I'd noticed this plant before and wondered what it was. I'd just about decided that as it has rather attractive leaves, I'd move it to the flower border. If it turns out to be giant hogweed, I probably shouldn't do that*.

I've looked up lots of websites that explain how to tell the difference, and looked at lots of photos of both, and I'm still not sure. Its size suggests the smaller species, but then it might just be a young plant. Its leaves certainly look more like the giant, but the stems lack the characteristic purple blotches. As to whether it's spiny or merely fuzzy, well I really couldn't say.

I suspect that what I have is a hybrid, since these two species can interbreed. Either way - unidentified or hybrid - I'm not going to try eating it.


* When I say probably shouldn't, what I mean is that it would be illegal for me to do so, as that would count as propagating an invasive species.

1 comment:

  1. My knowledge of Giant Hogweed begin and ends with public information posters on a family holiday in Scotland as a child, warning of dire consequences if you touched it, so sorry, not much help from me. A hybrid certainly sounds plausible.

    I'm with you on not trying it. I figure there are plenty of other (easily identifiable) plants to eat!


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