giant hogweed


plural giant hogweeds
: a tall perennial herb (Heracleum mantegazzianum) of the carrot family native to the Caucasus that has a hollow, usually purple-blotched stem which can reach a height of 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6.1 meters) and white-flowered umbels arranged in flat-topped clusters usually over 2.5 feet (0.8 meters) in diameter and that produces an irritating sap that causes severe rashes and blistering

Note: The giant hogweed has become invasive in Canada and the U.S. after being introduced as an ornamental plant in the early 1900s.

She didn't realize she was planting poison. The plant was giant hogweed—a noxious, weed that looks like Queen Anne's lace and can give blistering, oozing rashes to anyone who touches its sap.Noreen Gillespie
Giant hogweed … stands eight feet tall displaying three-foot long coarsely divided leaves and stems crowned with huge parasols of small white flowers.Taimi Anderson

called also cartwheel flower, giant cow parsley, giant cow parsnip, hogsbane

Examples of giant hogweed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like the wild parsnip, giant hogweed contains sap that can cause a skin reaction when exposed to the sun. Claire Reid, Journal Sentinel, 8 Aug. 2023 Other plants that look similar include poison hemlock (which is toxic if ingested) as well as wild parsnip, cow parsnip, and Queen Anne’s lace, all of which can cause skin reactions—although typically not nearly as severe as those caused by giant hogweed. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 24 Aug. 2023 More information on giant hogweed and preventing the spread can be found on the DNR website. Claire Reid, Journal Sentinel, 8 Aug. 2023 However, giant hogweed grows much taller, maxing out at 15 feet tall by early to mid-summer. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 24 July 2023 But others, such as giant hogweed, are too dangerous to tackle alone. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, 16 May 2023 Poison Hemlock Just like giant hogweed, poison hemlock has clusters of white flowers and the stems have purple splotches, according to an article by the healthcare blog Heathline. Chandra Fleming, Detroit Free Press, 15 Mar. 2023 Giant Hogweed According to the Michigan State Extension website, the giant hogweed can cause severe reactions caused by the sap of the plant. Chandra Fleming, Detroit Free Press, 15 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'giant hogweed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of giant hogweed was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near giant hogweed

Cite this Entry

“Giant hogweed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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