Giant Hogweed — What a Monster!

‘What a Monster’ is what naive gardeners might say, with gleeful enthusiasm, while reaching for their wallets to pay for this 15 foot tall flowering plant with the 5 foot wide serrated leaves.

However, its victims might say the phrase in rueful anguished voices, as invadingspecies.com says they risk severe dermatitis, and could continue to suffer from ping pong ball sized blisters for the next 10 years, every time their affected skin is exposed to sunlight. It can be a painful experience if skin contacts the poisonous sap of Giant Hogweed, then spends time in sunshine, before it is completely washed off.

No, it is not in our region, yet.

In B.C., only the southwest coast and its local islands are cursed by the presence of this huge satanic herb. So, let us focus on saner Grow-me-instead-choices like Blue Elderberry, Ligularia, Rodgersia, Shieldleaf Rodgersia, and, perhaps, Wild Celery.

Blue Elderberry was mentioned a month ago in my article on English Holly. Nativefoodsnursery.com tells us that Elderberries are used by makers of wine, jam, syrup and pies.

It’s flower clusters can be dipped in batter and fried or added to pancakes and fritters, and its steeped flower petals make a tasty fragrant tea. Blue Elderberry is low maintenance for life and your bird buddies will be happy to harvest any fruit you overlook.

Ligularia aka ‘The Rocket’ finegardening.com maintains it is almost indestructible if planted in a damp shady place, and that in midsummer its daisy-like flowers bloom progressively from the bottom to the top of the stem like a rocket’s tail rising into the sky, provided you don’t let the soil dry out.

Rodgersia, according to finegardening.com “creates tropical drama, with its large, toothed leaves and ivory-green, foot-long flowers,” when planted in moist soil. Shieldleaf Rodgersia is a big leaved umbrella plant variety with round, three-foot diameter, pale green, slightly fuzzy, toothed leaves on three-foot stems that could likely be used as an umbrella.

To grow well, this plant, bearing fluffy white flowers on four- to five-foot stems, needs moist soil, partial shade and protection from the wind. Wild Celery is in a problematic, edible, medicinal, native group of plants that includes Cow Parsnip- which can be toxic to some people.

The Wild Celery family also resembles poisonous native plants, like water hemlock and poison-hemlock, so beware!

Weed Warrior Frank

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

ANKORS details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

AIDS Network, Outreach, and Support Society (ANKORS) of the East Kootenay have… Continue reading

School district staff reaching out to students, parents for educational guidance

Staff maintaining contact with students, ramping up remote technology to deliver learning opportunities

A Message From East Kootenay Regional Hospital ER Staff

Please Continue to Stay Home and Practice Social Distancing

Cranbrook food recovery programs still in operation

Cranbrook programs working together to ensure the community is fed.

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

Farm life: the little things that brought me joy in March

In celebration of the little things in life that bring us joy

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read