giant hogweed

plural giant hogweeds

Definition of giant hogweed

: 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

First Known Use of giant hogweed

1890, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about giant hogweed

Time Traveler for giant hogweed

Time Traveler

The first known use of giant hogweed was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Statistics for giant hogweed

Cite this Entry

“Giant hogweed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

Comments on giant hogweed

What made you want to look up giant hogweed? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!