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Giant Hogweed Identification

If you suspect you may have found giant hogweed you should take photos, note the location, and report the site to NYS DEC via Email, or at the Giant Hogweed Information Line: 1-845-256-3111.

Giant hogweed is often confused for cow parsnip, and other similar looking plants - compare some common lookalikes that get mistaken for giant hogweed below.

Characteristics of the Adult Giant Hogweed Plant

White flowers with 50-150 flower rays clustered into an umbrella shaped flower cluster up to 2.5 feet across
giant hogweed flower giant hogweed flowers

Between 7 and 14 feet tall (depending upon growth stage)
tall giant hogweed plant man standing next to giant hogweed to show size

Huge leaves, incised and deeply lobed up to 5 feet across
giant hogweed leaf with a compass to show size man holding giant hogweed leaf

Stems are green with extensive purple splotches and prominent coarse white hairs. Stems are also hollow, ridged, 2-4 inches in diameter, and have a thick circle of hairs at base of leaf stalk
giant hogweed stem close up showing white hairs giant hogweed stem closeup showing purple splotches

Seeds are dry, flattened, and oval. Approximately 3/8 inch long and tan with brown lines (oil tubes) extending 3/4 of the seed length that widen at ends
giant hogweed seeds dry brown giant hogweed seeds

Many plants are often misidentified as giant hogweed - the most common plant being cow parsnip. Please thoroughly look through the charts below to see the major differences between giant hogweed and cow parsnip, angelica, wild parsnip, Queen Anne's lace, and poison hemlock.

Giant Hogweed and Common Lookalikes
Plant Flower Leaf Stem
Giant Hogweed

7-14 feet tall
This plant can cause burns.
Do not touch.

White umbrella-shaped flower clusters
up to 2.5 feet wide. 50+ rays per cluster.
Flowers late June - mid July

Compound, lobed, deeply incised,
up to 5 feet wide

Green with purple splotches and course
white hairs - thick circle of hairs at base of
leaf stalk, 2-4 inches in diameter.
Cow Parsnip

5 to 8 feet tall
This plant may cause burns.

White flat-topped flower clusters no longer
than one foot wide. 15-30 rays per cluster.
Flowers late May - Late June

Compound, less incised than hogweed,
between 2 - 2.5 feet wide

Green and rigid with fine white hairs
1-2 inches in diameter.
Angelica
full angelica plant next to human
4 to 9 feet tall
This plant may cause burns.
angelica flower
Softball-sized and shaped clusters,
greenish-white or white
Flowers mid May - mid June
angelica leaf
Compound leaves that may extend
up to 2 feet wide
angelica stem
Smooth, waxy purple, 1 to 2.5 inches
in diameter (no hairs or bristles)
Wild Parsnip
wild parsnip full plant next to human
Up to 5 feet tall
Native of Eurasia
This plant can cause burns.
Do not touch.
wild parsnip flower
Single flower stalk with flat-topped
umbel of yellow flower clusters
Flowers late May - early July
wild parsnip leaf
Compound, pinnate, 5 to 15 toothed
leaflets, variably lobed, yellowish-green
wild parsnip stem
Yellowish-green with full length
grooves (no hairs or bristles)
Queen Anne's Lace
queen anne's lace plant
1 to 3 feet tall
Native of Eurasia
queen annes lace flower
Flat-topped umbel of white flower clusters,
2 to 4 inches wide. The central flower
cluster usually deep purple.
When fruiting, the umbel becomes
concave and resembles a "bird's nest."
queen annes lace leaf
Compound, pinnate, fern-like.
queen annes lace stem
Green, covered with bristly hairs.
Poison Hemlock
Poison hemlock stalk - 4 to 9 feet tall
4 to 9 feet tall
Native of Eurasia
All parts of this plant are very poisonous.
DO NOT INGEST
Poison hemlock flowers - small and white arranged in numerous flat-topped clusters on all branches
Small and white arranged in numerous
flat-topped clusters on all branches
Flowers late May - late June
Poison hemlock leaf - bright green, small and fern-like, may appear glossy
Bright green, small and fern-like,
may appear glossy
Poison hemlock stem - smooth and waxy stem with purple blotches, 1 to 2 inches in diameter
Smooth and waxy stem with purple
blotches, 1 to 2 inches in diameter
(no hairs or bristles)