- Heracleum mantegazzianum is a herbaceous biennial or monocarpic perennial that can grow up to 15-20 ft. (4.3-5.8 m) in height. The stem is hollow and usually blotched with purple. Both the leaf stalks and stem produce pustulate bristles. The stem can be 2-4 in. (4.8-9.6 cm) in diameter.
- The leaves are ternate or ternate-pinnate with pinnately lobed lateral segments. They can be up to 9.8 ft. (3 m) in breadth.
- Heracleum mantegazzianum flowers from June-July. The inflorescence has many white florets (with petals about 0.4 in. [1 cm]) that form a flat-topped umbel. Each inflorescence can have a diameter of up to 2.5 ft. (0.72 m).
- The fruits are dry and elliptic, measuring 0.3-0.4 in. (8-11 mm) long and 0.25-0.3 in. (6-8 mm) wide. The fruits have brown resin canals that can be up to 0.04 in. (1 mm) in diameter.
- Ecological Threat
- Heracleum mantegazzianum can outcompete species for habitat, especially in riparian zones, and it may cause increased soil erosion. This plant is on the federal noxious weed list because of its poisonous sap. This sap makes skin very sensitive to UV radiation, causing blistering and severe burns. Caution should be taken when handling this weed. Removing it manually becomes very difficult because of the danger caused by its sap.