Invasive SpeciesGiant hogweed

Heracleum mantegazzianum
FOUND by pparent
Grand Isle
ID Questioned
Quality checked by pparent
Peer reviewed by
Field Notes
Well, I was just riding down the road, minding my own business when all of a sudden, there was again, that strange brown, umbrella shaped stalk sticking out of the shrubs along the road. These plants are certainly not from around here. I grew up in these parts and never saw anything like them before. They look like plants you'd see in a Jurassic Park movie. And there they are again, this time in Grand Isle, and guess where...along an ATV trail. If this is Heracleum mantegazzianum, I am going to do a better job documenting its characteristics. I'll do so carefully, and avoid direct contact with this noxious plant.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
The stem of these plants seemed to have blotches (brown, though, not purple) and the leaf stalks seemed to grow out of the stem in a similar way as illustrated in the species ID card
Photo of my evidence.
Leaves are very large (sorry I don't have my hand in the picture), some approximately 50 cm or more and 3 deeply lobed leaflets. (Though the leaves are not as lobed as the species card example). You can also see fine hairs on the leaf stem.
Photo of my evidence.
The stem seems to show blotches. Some of the plants are 3 meters tall. If this isn't Giant Hogweed, then it is Giant something else and I'd like to know what.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Heracleum mantegazzianum
Common name:
Giant hogweed
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 47.275870 °
W -68.157750 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Field
Trip Information
Giant Hogweed in Grand Isle too?
Trip date: 
Wed, 2010-08-04 15:02
Town or city: 
Grand Isle
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey
Saint John


The huge hogweed is a toxic invader. It is so poisonous that it can trigger third degree burns and loss of sight. It is starting to show up more in New York, growing at a remarkable pace. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is very concerned about the invasion. I found this here: Giant toxic plants invade New York.

Thanks. I realize my error now. I'd like to blame my lack of consistent internet connection that limited my research, the CBC report on Hogweed found in Clair, N.B. that got me going, and my overall lack of experience with the plant. But ultimately, the bottom line is that I jumped to the Hogweed conclusion without looking at prior submitted sitings and resources. The lookalikes site was the piece I needed for accuracy. Lesson learned.

The leaves and the stem photo really look like cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) to me. There aren't the classic purple blotches on the stem and the leaves are not as deeply lobed as giant hogweed. So I would suggest that folks in Northern Maine don't have to worry about hogweed in that area.

Thanks for giving me the time to look again, think things over and relect. I'm probably not the first observer get over zealous and jump to conclusions about finding invasives. After looking over the State Department of Agriculture lookalikes, I think the plants in question are probably Cow Parsnip and not Giant Hogweed. I did not realize that Cow Parsnip could get so big! I've never seen Cow Parsnip up here either. It is still a weird looking plant!

Lesson learned. My students and I will be sure to check all the resources available before submitting our findings (or non findings). (I'll just tell my students I did this on purpose). Wait, they'll read this comment too! Oh well, bottom line is that this is actually very good news for Northern Maine and this is not the first humble pie I've eaten either.