Home » Is all Hogweed poisonous? – How to tell the difference

Is all Hogweed poisonous? – How to tell the difference

Is all Hogweed poisonous? – How to tell the difference

The toxicity of a single hogweed species puts the entire genus under general suspicion of being dangerous to humans and animals. This guide clears up the prejudice and explains the most important distinguishing features between poisonous and harmless hogweed.

Giant Hogweed – skin contact can cause burns

When Giant hogweed is in full bloom, the ornamental value is undeniable. The satanic side of natural beauty, on the other hand, is almost invisible in the form of toxic plant sap.

Even light contact with the plant can cause second and third-degree burns.

What is treacherous is that the painful symptoms of poisoning only appear under the influence of sunlight. It starts with intense itching. The skin then turns red to black and blisters.

Distinguishing toxic from harmless – this is how it works

In order to recognize the dangerous candidate among the Hogweed species, the following two distinguishing features between poisonous Giant Hogweed and harmless Meadow Hogweed are in focus:

  • Giant Hogweed thrives with red speckled, hollow stems
  • At a height of up to 300 cm (9.8 feet), Poison Hodweed towers above all harmless conspecifics

Flowering time gives another indication of whether you are dealing with poisonous or harmless hogweed.

Giant hogweed flowers only from June to July. The heyday of native meadow hogweed, on the other hand, extends from June to September.


If a poisonous giant hogweed has crept into your garden, you should remove the intruder promptly. In contrast to its harmless conspecifics, the uninvited guest tends to spread invasively by self-seeding.

Please approach the floral aggressor well protected with overalls, boots, gloves, and eye protection.

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