Cow Parsnip vs. Giant Hogweed

Fast Facts

  • Both can cause skin damage but Giant Hogweed is more severe
  • Do not touch either plant, and if you do come into contact with either of them, wash the affected area immediately with soap and water and keep away from sunlight
  • Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum) is native to Michigan, and is common and widespread here
  • Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is an invasive, non-native species introduced from Eurasia and is found only rarely in Michigan
  • Cow Parsnip reaches to six to eight feet in height
  • Giant Hogweed reaches six to twelve feet in height
  • Cow Parsnip leaves can be two to two and a half feet across
  • Giant Hogweed leaves can be up to five feet across
  • Cow Parsnip flowers in early June with white, flat-topped (umbel) flowers up to a foot in diameter
  • Giant Hogweed flowers in late June or early July with white, round-topped (umbel) flowers up to two feet in diameter
  • If you suspect Giant Hogweed, report it on Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN)

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