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A picture of a Hogweed


Heracleum sphondylium

Also known as

Common Hogweed, Cow Parsnip, Eltrot, Eurasian Cow Parsnip, Cow parsley

20150626Heracleum sphondylium1 by AnRo0002 (CC0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








2 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Hogweed

A close up of some white Heracleum sphondylium flowers in a garden
A close up of the green foliage of a Heracleum sphondylium plant
A photo of Hogweed
A photo of Hogweed
A photo of Hogweed

Hogweed Overview

Heracleum sphondylium is a robust perennial that grows freely in rough grassland habitats such as roadside verges, meadows, riverbanks and woods. This plant is in the top 10 nectar providers for pollinating insects. It's greenish white flowers appear in summer and give out a characteristic pig-like smell, hence the common name hogweed. Easily confused with the related species Heracleum mantegazzianum or giant hogweed, these plants grow to notably different sizes, but are tricky to distinguish. Plant size is the best identifier, the leaf shape also differs slightly between these species. For this plant, hogweed, the leaves are generally arranged in a flat, single plane and in giant hogweed, the leaves are more textured, pointed and in a more three-dimensional arrangement. This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!

Common problems with Hogweed

How to harvest Hogweed

Generally not harvested

Special features of Hogweed

Attracts useful insects

Attractive flowers

Other uses of Hogweed

Suits larger wildlife friendly gardens or meadows.

Plants for Long Grass Areas

Above 50cm

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Garden Biennials

A biennial plant takes two years to complete it's flowering cycle but worth the wait.

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