|Common Name 2||Cow Parsnip|
|Latin Name||Heracleum sphodylium|
|Habitat||Wood edges, beside paths, roadside verges and many other environments.
|Leaves||Starting curled within an envelope and pale green opening out to large dark green roughly lobed leaves.|
|Flowers||Large white umbels made up of many tiny flowers. (Umbel being shaped like an umberella).|
|Stem||Green to dark red/brown/purple. Fleshy, thick and covered in small hairs.|
|Roots||Sometimes thick and a bit parsnip like but more often thin, small and very branched.
|Taste||Cooked like spinach hogweed has a flavour of its own. One of the best tasting of the wild foods available in the UK.
The shoots are best blanched and cooked in butter, the leaves can be used when very young or as a flavouring for soups and stews, the flower buds can be used like broccoli and the roots can be used like parsnips but must be boiled well.
|Collecting||Only the young leaves should be eaten before they open out fully. Gloves should be worn as a few people can find they get an allergic skin reaction when in regular contact with the sap rather like Giant Hogweed but nowhere near as severe.|
|Possible Confusion||Giant Hogweed! This is a very dangerous plant with phototoxic sap which will burn your skin extremely badly if exposed to the Sun. This is no idle warning, if you want to see how bad the burns can get a simple google search should do the trick.
Giant hogweed has slightly shinier leaves more hair in a ring around the stem where the leaf joints are, and more flower stems, and is much larger when mature. Giant hogweed gets to 4 metres tall, common hogweed ijs normally around 2 metres or less.
To ID Giant Hogweed click this link www.wildfooduk.com/hedgerow-food-guide/giant-hogweed-hedgerow/
One of my favorite wild foods but because of the phototoxicity of Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) people seem scared of this plant.
|Medical Use||Hogweed oil was used as a sedative and expectorant.