Persian hogweed

Heracleum persicum


Heracleum persicum - Persian hogweed
Habitat: Semi-natural and disturbed habitats, meadows, grasslanfs, coastal areas, riparian areas.
Description: The Persian hogweed is a large flowering plant, up to 3m tall, native to Turkey, Iraq and Iran. It is perennial, and has an anise-like smell. 
Origin and Distribution: The Persian hogweed is native to Turkey, Iraq and Iran. It was first introduced into Northern Europe as an ornamental curiosity and has since become established in coastal habitats, wetlands and pastures in six Member States (Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom).
Potential/Known Impacts: The species’ appearance and environmental impacts are similar to those of the Sosnowsky’s hogweed and the giant hogweed. Because of its ability to form dense impenetrable stands, the Persian hogweed has a tendency to suffocate out all other native plants and wildlife, causing significant ecological damage, particularly in Natura 2000 sites. It also has a major economic impact due to its erosive effects and impaired drainage along river courses. Contact with the plant’s sap, if exposed to sunlight, can cause severe skin burns. Some recreational areas have become completely inaccessible as a result.
How could it get here? As an ornamental plant, or accidentally on transport if travelling through areas where it grows alongside roads, shores and banks, or railways.
Is it in Ireland?: Not yet present in Ireland
Methods for prevention: EU-level action includes a ban on sales and any planting or keeping, including in gardens, and a rapid eradication of any new populations to avoid the excessively high costs associated with its management later on. Where the species has become widely spread, appropriate management measures have to be taken.  
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland