Persian hogweed

Heracleum persicum


Photo credit: ©Dilli P. Rijal
Heracleum persicum - Persian hogweed
  • It is found in semi-natural and disturbed habitats, meadows, grasslands, coastal areas, and riparian areas.

  • 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. It is similar in appearance to giant hogweed and Sosnowsky's hogweed. It reproduces via seeds, and can set seed several times before dying.

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 Great Britain).

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. It may also be introduced through contaminated soils.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?:
  • It is not present in Northern 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.
  • Report all sightings. 

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
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 Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:
Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland