Monday, 24 August 2015

Creature 328: Heracleum mantegazzianum

A plant that makes you act like a vampire

Heracleum mantegazzianum is commonly known as giant hogweed or many other names, most of which sound quite nasty.
File:Heracleum mantegazzianum (Meise) JPG1a.jpg
It grows up to 5.5 meters tall and has a pretty nasty toxic defense. Unlike most plants, this thing doesn't need to wait until you eat it to poison you. If it comes in contact with your skin a chemical sticks to you. When that chemical is exposed to sunlight it starts reacting and causes severe irritation and burns to your skin. It is not fatal but in some cases hospitalizations might be necessary.
The sap of giant hogweed can cause severe burns on the skin.

The giant hogweed is native to central Asia but for some reason I will never understand we have introduced it into several other areas.

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Class: Dicotyledon
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Heracleum
Species: Heracleum mantegazzianum

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