Bavarian State Institute of Forestry
Section Forest Protection
Phone: +49 (8161) / 4591 - 501
Fax: +49 (8161) / 4591 - 900
|Abb. 1: The impressive flower of the Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).|
The Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is one of the most striking neophytes: an enormous white umbel, exemplars reaching a height of four meters, and big sawed leaves. At the end of the 19th century, this mountainous plant from the Caucasus was imported to Europe as an ornamental plant. Since then, it keeps spreading massively in our regions in gravel pits and fallow grounds, along streets, creeks, forest margins etc.
All parts of this plant contain the toxic substance Furocumarin. Intensified by solar radiation, coming in contact with this plant can lead to heavy allergic reactions with long-lasting burning scars. By the way, some bee-farmers appreciate the Giant Hogweed because of the rich flowering, but apart from them, nobody else does.
For years now, the "Kreisgruppe Starnberg" of the "Landesbund für Vogelschutz" has been implementing suppression measures against the Giant Hogweed and wants to profit from their experience to give some advice:
Measures for controlling the Giant Hogweed are supposed to fail if they are not planned in a consequent and adaptive manner and they shouldn’t be seen as a singular action. Long-sleeved protective clothing, gloves and a brimmed hat are absolutely necessary. The author once wiped his front with a glove after touching a Giant Hogweed – even this turned out to be a big fault!