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Heracleum maximum

Heracleum maximum Bartram

Heracleum lanatum Michx.

Heracleum sphondylium L. ssp. montanum (Schleich. ex Gaudin) Briq.

Heracleum sphondylium L. var. lanatum (Michx.) Dorn

Cow Parsnip, Indian Celery, Pushki

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderApialesIncludes carrots, celery, parsley, and ivy
FamilyApiaceaeCarrot or parsley family, also includes angelica, anise, caraway, celery, chervil, cicely, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, hemlock, lovage, Queen Anne’s Lace, parsnip
GenusHeracleumNamed for Hercules, either because he used a species for medicine or because, like Hercules, some species are very large
Speciesmaximum“Large, great, high, extensive”

About plant names...

Cow parsnip, named because cows like it, is a North American native, common except in the Gulf Coast states.

Identification: Plants reach 6½' (2 m) in height. Stems are thick, grooved, hollow, hairy, and often reddish. Leaves are up to 16" (40 cm) across, split into sharp lobes that vaguely resemble maple leaves, with a disagreeable odor. Flowers appear in large white compound umbels about 8" (20 cm) in size. Individual flowers have five petals of inconsistent size. There are several other members of the carrot family with similar-appearing flowerheads, including another very common plant, Queen Anne’s lace. Fruits are flat, green, egg- or heart-shaped, ⅜-½" (9.5-12 mm) × ¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm). They smell like parsley.

 

Heracleum maximum (Cow Parsnip, Indian Celery, Pushki)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, ME
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Heracleum maximum (Cow Parsnip, Indian Celery, Pushki)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, ME
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm)

Heracleum maximum (Cow Parsnip, Indian Celery, Pushki)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, ME
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Here are some similar-appearing species:

 
Heracleum mantegazzianum
You are here
Heracleum maximum

Daucus carota
Common Name

Giant Hogweed

Cow Parsnip

Queen Anne’s Lace
Plant Extremely large: 6½-16' (2-5 m) tall, sometimes reaching 23' (7 m). Poisonous Skull & Crossbones: causes phytophotodermatitis. Up to 6½' (2 m) in height. Poisonous Skull & Crossbones: causes phytophotodermatitis. Grows to 3’ in height. Plant smells like carrots.
Flowers White flowers form flat-topped compound umbels (flowerheads) up to 30" (76 cm) in diameter. Large white compound umbels about 8" (20 cm) in size. Individual flowers have five petals of inconsistent size. Pale pink before opening. When open, forms an umbrella-shaped flower cluster up to 3” across, composed of tiny 5-petaled flowers.
Leaves Leaves are up to 5' (1.5 m) across, extensively divided into sharp-tipped sections. Up to 16" (40 cm) across, split into sharp lobes that vaguely resemble maple leaves, with a disagreeable odor. Compound leaves are deeply divided and subdivided.
Stem Hollow stems are 1-4" (3-10 cm) in diameter, with deep purple raised blotches containing white hairs. Thick, grooved, hollow, hairy, and often reddish. Fine hairs on stems and leaves.
Seeds Each seed is up to ¼" (8.3 mm) long.    
Fruit   Flat, green, egg- or heart-shaped, ⅜-½" (9.5-12 mm) × ¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm).  
Range/ Zones

Habitats Rich, moist soils in ditches, stream banks, vacant farmland, and fence and tree lines Moist, shady mountain woodlands, streambeds  
Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence     Common

 

Medical: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones These plants contain furocoumarins in their sap, a defense against fungal attack. It happens that these chemicals cause phytophotodermatitis in people—that is, severe sensitivity to sunlight. If you come in contact with the plant, then are exposed to long wave ultraviolet light (sunlight), the dermatitis may develop. The exposed skin becomes bright or dark red, developing large blisters. The effects resemble chemical burns, and can leave permanent discoloration or scarring. Temporary or permanent blindness can result from eye exposure.

Online References:

Heracleum maximum on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Heracleum maximum at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert

Heracleum maximum on the USDA Plants Database

Heracleum maximum on Wikipedia

Heracleum maximum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Heracleum maximum on Montana Plant Life

Heracleum maximum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Heracleum maximum (Cow Parsnip, Indian Celery, Pushki)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, ME
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Range:

About this map...