Kiss My Aster

My Bad Romance With A Bad, Bad Plant

Do you see the appeal?
Do you see the appeal?

I remember the first time I saw Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). I was driving down a one-way street in the middle of nowhere… I literally backed up and drove back and forth 3 times so that I could oogle those large leaves, giant umbrellas of flowers…  I like ’em tall and, oh boy, at over 10′ this bad boy towers over the rest of them.

It’s like an Angelica gigas had a mad affair with a Gunnera manicata and this is their lil’ dangerous love child.

What makes Giant Hogweed so bad? Well, his sap will actually cause you to burn and blister, it could even cause blindness. Scars can last for years. Okay, so that does sound really bad… But he’s just got such charm other than that, you know what I mean?

When I used to covet this plant from afar, I thought of parking on the roadside, collecting seeds and starting a bad romance of my own in my back yard. But I always chickened out.

Funny how things come true. Now that skin-burning roadside weeds are what I DON’T want around my tiny Jedi, I have a yard full of them.  I’ll be severing the roots with the world’s longest shovel as soon as I get up the guts.

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  1. MichelleGervais 05/01/2012

    I soooo wish I could grow this plant in my garden--I'm a sucker for big, hulking beast-like plants! Alas, if we see one growing here in CT, we are encouraged to report it so the invasive police can come an take care of it. Yikes! Sounds like invasiveness is just one of its cons.

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