Sosnowsky’s hogweed

Heracleum sosnowskyi

Overview

  • Common Names:
  • Heracleum sosnowskyi (Sosnowsky’s hogweed)

  • Description: Sosnowsky’s hogweed is a large flowering plant native to the Caucasus, Transcaucasia and North-East Turkey. It was first introduced for silage in the 1940s but has since spread rapidly via wind and water to a wide range of semi-natural or degraded habitats. The species’ appearance and environmental impacts are similar to those of the Persian hogweed and the giant hogweed.

  • Origin and Worldwide Distribution: Sosnowsky’s hogweed is native to the Caucasus, Transcaucasia and North-East Turkey. It was introduced for silage in the 1940s but has since spread rapidly via wind and water to a wide range of semi-natural or degraded habitats into Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

  • Potential or Known Impacts: The species’ appearance and environmental impacts are similar to those of the Persian hogweed and the giant hogweed. The plant is highly toxic to humans and even a few small drops of the plant’s juice can cause major burns on the skin. Once established, the species is almost impossible to eradicate because the seeds remain viable for many years and the plants can re-sprout readily.
  • How did it/could it get here? It was introduced for silage in the 1940s but has since spread rapidly via wind and water to a wide range of semi-natural or degraded habitats.

  • Methods for Prevention: Once established, the species is almost impossible to eradicate because the seeds remain viable for many years and the plants can re-sprout readily. EU-level action includes a ban on sales and on any planting or keeping, including in gardens. Furthermore, as to prevent spread into other areas and avoid the excessively high costs associated with its management later on, any new populations have to be eradicated rapidly. Where the species has become widely spread, appropriate management measures have to be taken.

  • Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016) This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment. For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland