Cow Parsnip: Why It Has Such A Bad Name – Difference from Giant Hogweed


Cow Parsnip is a name used for more than 60 species of perennial plants belonging to the genus Heracleum. This flowering plant is native e to North America and garden owners consider it a weed as it is invasive in nature and grows very quickly to tower other plants. One of the most known species of Cow Parsnip is the Giant Hogweed. It is important to know what makes the difference and why cow parsnip vs giant hogweed is not the same thing.

It is really a tall herb that can grow to a height of up to 7 feet. The fact that all parts of this plant including the leaves, the stem, and the flowers are big is reflected in the name of its genus that comes from Hercules. Giant Hogweed is different from the common Cow Parsnip (Indian Celery), which is used for making traditional food supplements.

cow parsnip vs giant hogweed

Cow Parsnip vs Giant Hogweed: What we should know

Giant Hogweed is a plant known for its ability to cause blistering and irritation on the human skin. It is because of this ability of this plant that most garden owners consider it as a weed and try to get rid of it as soon as they see it inside their gardens.

However, Cow Parsnip or hogweed, as it is also known as, is not a weed but a plant that normally grows along the roadside or in drainage ditches. It is rarely seen growing inside nurseries as a weed. The fact that there are many related plants with Cow Parsnip that scare people when they identify it in their gardens.

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The visible characteristic of this perennial plant is its large flower head that looks like an umbrella consisting of lots of tiny white flowers. You can easily cut off one of these flower heads and place it inside a vase in your room as this flower head has the sweet smell of vanilla. These flower heads are a source of attraction not only for ladybugs but also for butterflies. You can let this plant to grow in your garden if there are no butterflies in your garden and you are desirous of seeing them.

Cow Parsnip vs Giant Hogweed: Differences

The lifecycle of Cow Parsnip is small and the plant lasts for only two years. But the good thing about this plant is that it reseeds itself and quickly and grows even before even the parent plant has died. If you are looking to fill up a corner of your garden, you can safely choose Cow Parsnip. The leaves of this plant are huge by any standards as they can be more than 15 inches long and more than 12 inches wide. Every leaf is actually a group of three leaves with 2 basal leaflets and one terminal leaflet. Margins of the leaves are lobed and serrated.

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What looks scary to many people is the very hairy stalk of Cow Parsnip. It is also a little bit ridged besides being hirsute. Another mysterious feature of Cow Parsnip happens to be its buds that seen in the shape of swellings on its stem. These swellings are at times as big as the size of an orange. When this bud finally gets converted into a flower, it is seen in the form of a compound umbel. Each of the umbel contains several tiny white flowers.

While Giant Hogweed is poisonous and hust be avoided, cow parsnip or branca ursului extracts can be used as natural viagra and as food supplements. Many people consider those as the cheal viagra you can buy as natural remedy. As long as you consider it a food supplement and consult your GP, you can be sure of the benefits they will bring to your wellbeing and sexual life.