Heracleum sosnowskyi (Sosnowskyi's hogweed)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Heracleum sosnowskyi Manden., 1944
Preferred Common Name
- Sosnowskyi's hogweed
Other Scientific Names
- Heracleum wilhelmsii auct. non Fisch. et Ave-Lall
International Common Names
- English: cow parsley; cow parsnip; giant cow parsnip; giant hogweed; Sosnowski's hogweed
- Russian: borshevik sosnovskogo
Local Common Names
- Estonia: Sosnovski karuputk
- Germany: Sosnowskyi Barenklau
- Latvia: Sosnovska latvanis
- Lithuania: Sosnovskio barstis
- Poland: barszcz sosnowskiego
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
H. sosnowskyi is a monocarpic biennial or perennial plant that grows up to 3 m tall. Leaves are divided into segments and can reach up to 3 m in length. White or pinkish flowers are organized in umbels and flowering occurs in the second year or later (Nielsenet al., 2005). An average plant can produce around 9000 fruits (Tkatschenko, 1989). The mother plant dies after producing seeds, however the plant is reported to live up to 6 years before flowering (Satsiperova, 1984). The whole plant contains photosensitizing furanocoumarins that can burn and/or blister human skin (after contact with plant sap and subsequent UV irradiation).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Apiales
- Family: Apiaceae
- Genus: Heracleum
- Species: Heracleum sosnowskyi
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Heracleum sosnowskyi Manden. was described in 1944 (Mandenova, 1944) from Meschetia district in Georgia. It was placed into section Pubescentia Manden. that comprises 13 Heracleum species from the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Crimea, Persia and Pamiro-Alai (Mandenova, 1950; Jahodová et al., 2007a). According to Mandenova, H. sosnowskyi is similar to H. pubescens (Hoffm.) M. Bieb., which she regarded as endemic to Crimea. Later authors consider H. sosnowskyi a synonym of H. wilhelmsii Fisch. et Avé-Lall. (Grossheim, 1967) or H. wilhelmsii auct. non Fisch. et Avé-Lall. a synonym of H. sosnowskyi (Menitsky, 1991). Recently, A. V. Yena and E. S. Kraynyuk speculate that H. sosnowskyi is synonymous with H. pubescens (Greuter and Raus, 2007) but more research needs to be done to confirm this.
DescriptionTop of page
H. sosnowskyi is monocarpic biennial or perennial plant. Height in the invaded range is often reported as 100-300 cm, although in the original description from the native range it is ‘only’ 100-150 cm (Mandenova, 1950). The stem is ridged and sparsely hairy with purple blotches. Leaves of mature plants are divided to a varying extent, either into three approximately equal parts, which may themselves be similarly divided (ternate), or into more than three leaflets arranged in rows along the central leaf stalk (pinnate). The leaf margins have short rounded teeth. On the upper surface the leaves are hairless and below slightly hairy. The flowers are white, sometimes pinkish. Outer petals are radiate, 9-10 mm long. Flowers are organized in slightly convex compound umbels 30-50 cm across. Umbels have 30-75 rays with only short hairs. Flowering typically lasts from June to August. The fruits are egg-shaped or oval mericarps; 9-16 mm long, 5-9 mm wide, densely hairy when unripe. Ripe fruits have wings with numerous spines situated on small spherical or ovoid swellings. Fruits have very conspicuous oil ducts that do not reach the fruit base (Nielsenet al., 2005).
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
H. sosnowskyi is native to the eastern main Caucasian ridge and south-western and eastern Transcaucasia (Mandenova, 1950). Countries in this region that have H. sosnowskyi among their native flora are Georgia, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Type locality lies in Meschetia district, Adygeni in Georgia.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 17 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Georgia||Present||Native||Type locality in Meschetia distr. Adygeni|
|Belarus||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive|
|Denmark||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Ryvangen Naturpark in Copenhagen|
|Estonia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||First reported: 1950s|
|Iceland||Absent, Eradicated||Cultivated at Reykjavik Botanic Garden for 12 years, where it became invasive, and was eradicated|
|-Southern Russia||Present, Localized||Native|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
After World War II (in 1946-1947) the seeds of H. sosnowskyi were brought to the Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden-Institute (PABGI) in Kirovsk, Northern Russia, where experiments took place to investigate the usefulness of this plant as fodder (silage). In 1953 similar experiments began in Leningrad (St Petersburg) - in cooperation with three institutes (the Komarov Botanical Institute and two agricultural institutes). The aim of the experiments and breeding was to produce highly productive cultivars that would have minimal furanocoumarin content.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Central Russia||before 1948||Forage (pathway cause)||Yes||Kabuce (2006)||1948 first herbarium sample collected in Serpukhov region of Moscow district|
|Estonia||1950s||Forage (pathway cause)||Yes||Introduced to several areas as a promising plant for silage and honey production|
|Germany||Central Russia||1963||Forage (pathway cause)||Yes||Zimmermann (1966)||Grown in trials as a potential fodder crop. Seeds obtained from an institute in St. Petersburg (Russia)|
|Iceland||Horticulture (pathway cause)||Kabuce (2006)||Cultivated at Reykjavik Botanic gardens for 12 years, where it became invasive, and was eradicated. It is unknown whether or not it escaped|
|Latvia||Russian Federation||1948||Forage (pathway cause)||Yes||Eihe (1956); Rasins and Fatare (1986)||1948 first introduced, 1956 publication of trials as fodder crop, 1969 first herbarium record in Priekuli (Cesis region)|
|Lithuania||Forage (pathway cause)||Yes||Gudzinskas (1998)||1987 first herbarium sample|
|Northern Russia||Southern Russia||1946-7||Breeding and propagation (pathway cause); Forage (pathway cause); Research (pathway cause)||Yes||Marchenko (1954); Satsiperova (1984)||Introduced in 1946-7 to The Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden-Institute in Kirovsk, Murmansk region|
|Poland||Central Russia||end 1950s||Forage (pathway cause); Medicinal use (pathway cause); Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)||Yes||Kostecka-Madalska (1962); Kostecka-Madalska and Bankowski (1963); Lutynska (1980a); Pasieka (1984); Wojtkowiak et al. (2008)||In 1958 studies aimed to determine remedial properties of H. sosnowskyi began in the garden of Therapeutic Plants of Medical Academy in Wroclaw. At the end of 1950s the plant was also introduced as a potential fodder plant|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
The invasive nature of H. sosnowskyi has been recognized and the plant is now on several lists of invasive species of Europe (EPPO, DAISIE, NOBANIS). There are also several programmes to control and/or manage the plant and to prevent its further spread. However, it is not clear how seriously this problem is seen in Russia as very few records come from this country (as an exception see Filatova and Vlasov, 2002) and some researchers involved with H. sosnowskyi may not accept that this plant can behave as a weed or pest.
HabitatTop of page
H. sosnowskyi is mostly found in artificial habitats (roadsides, disturbed areas, agricultural fields, abandoned farmyards and gardens) and semi-natural habitats (bushes, grasslands, parks, pastures, abandoned orchards). H. sosnowskyi rapidly invades not only open areas but also spaces along water basins, roads and forests. Its naturalization is favoured in abandoned land, where earlier land management activities took place (Laivinš and Gavrilova, 2003; Kabuce, 2006; Obolevica, 2009).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Industrial / intensive livestock production systems||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
ClimateTop of page
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Preferred||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-45|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||0||13|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||17||34|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-15||-8|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||3||6||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||480||810||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Studies on natural enemies of H. sosnowskyi were performed mainly in the period when this plant was cultivated and thus the natural enemies were treated as pests. Few studies later on mention the potential for biological control and no reports in the literature were found to indicate intentional use of any biocontrol agents.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Botanical gardens and zoos||Cultivated in many Botanical gardens||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Breeding and propagation||Main aim of breeding to produce a varienty with high biomass yield and low furanocoumarin content||Yes||Yes||Boodiak et al. (1981); Demidov and Satsyperova (1989)|
|Crop production||Main cause of introduction to many countries/regions was cultivation as a fodder crop||Yes||Yes||EPPO (2008); Kabuce (2006); Nielsen et al. (2005)|
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Occasionally cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Forage||Main cause of introduction to many countries/regions was cultivation as a fodder crop||Yes||Yes||EPPO (2008); Kabuce (2006); Nielsen et al. (2005)|
|Garden waste disposal||Occasionally cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant, thus the chance of spread with waste soil||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Hitchhiker||Seeds can get attached to cloth, footwear, animal fur or to vehicles||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Horticulture||Occasionally cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Medicinal use||Tested for medicinal/veterinary use but is not clear whether and on what scale it was ever used||Yes||Gadzhiev and Eminov (1986); Kedzia et al. (1996); Kostecka-Madalska (1962); Kostecka-Madalska and Bankowski (1963); Lipnitskij (1996); Mägi and Sahk (2003); Tkachenko (2006); Wolski et al. (1996)|
|Ornamental purposes||Occasionally cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Research||Research associated with breeding/crop improvement or studying medicinal and/or chemical properties||Yes||Boodiak et al. (1981); Demidov and Satsyperova (1989); Dotsenko and Demidov (1985); Lipnitskij (1996); Satsiperova (1984); Satsyperova and Budyak (1980); Tkachenko (2006); Yartiev and Yartieva (1984)|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Clothing, footwear and possessions||Seeds can get attached to clothing and/or shoes||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Debris and waste associated with human activities||Seeds may be transported with movements of soil and garden waste||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Land vehicles||Seeds may get attached to tyres of cars, tractors and other vehicles||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Livestock||Seeds may get attached to animal fur (e.g. sheep and cattle)||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Machinery and equipment||Seeds may get attached to tyres of cars, tractors and other vehicles||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
|Water||Very important natural factor, as H. sosnowskyi often grows along/near streams and rivers||Yes||Yes||Kabuce (2006); Moravcová et al. (2007a)|
|Wind||Seeds can be blown particularly over frozen or snow-covered land||Yes||Kabuce (2006)|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
There are two main areas of economic impact:
- medicinal costs associated with treating people with dermatitis induced by contact with H. sosnowskyi;
- management or eradication costs.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
Social ImpactTop of page
H. sosnowskyi (as well as other invasive Heracleum species) contain photosensitizing furanocoumarins that cause a phytotoxic reaction (burning, blistering) in human skin after contact with the plant and subsequent UV irradiation. The phototoxic reaction can be activated 15 min after contact, with a sensibility peak between 30 min and 2 hours. After about 24 hours, flushing or reddening of the skin (erythema) and excessive accumulation of fluid in the skin (oedema) appear, followed by an inflammatory reaction after three days. Approximately one week later a hyper-pigmentation (usually darkening the skin) occurs which can last for months. The affected skin may remain sensitive to ultraviolet for years. In addition, several furanocoumarins have been reported to cause cancer (carcinogenic) and to cause malformation in the growing embryo (teratogenic) (Nielsenet al., 2005).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Is a habitat generalist
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has high genetic variability
- Altered trophic level
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Increases vulnerability to invasions
- Modification of hydrology
- Modification of nutrient regime
- Modification of successional patterns
- Monoculture formation
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Causes allergic responses
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - shading
- Induces hypersensitivity
- Rapid growth
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
In the past H. sosnowskyi was cultivated for fodder and to increase honey production, but these practices have been abandoned in most countries. However, in parts of northern Russia agricultural production continues to this day, but the economic value of trials or farm-scale production is not known.
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Invertebrate food
- Botanical garden/zoo
Human food and beverage
- Honey/honey flora
- Spices and culinary herbs
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Detection should initially be focused on mapping the distribution of all populations in a country or area of interest. Owing to their large size, stands of H. sosnowskyi are very conspicuous and it is therefore relatively easy to determine the plant’s distribution. Involving the public in locating stands through a public awareness raising campaign is particularly suitable. In cases where more tall invasive Heracleum species occur in a territory of interest, distribution can be mapped together (as distinguishing between the species requires specialist knowledge). Another useful method, which could be used to determine the distribution of these conspicuous aliens, is aerial photography during the flowering and early fruiting period (from the second half of June to July; Nielsenet al., 2005).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
H. sosnowskyi is closely related to H. mantegazzianum and can be easily confused with it. According to Mandenova (1950) there are two characteristic and constant features of H. sosnowskyi: the form of the vittae of fruits that are brown and swollen (but quite narrow in H. mantegazzianum); and rays of the umbel have only short hairs (but both long and short flexuous hairs in H. mantegazzianum). Other features distinguishing H. sosnowskyi include leaf margins that have short rounded teeth (but a saw-edged margin in H. mantegazzianum), slightly convex umbel (as opposed to a flat umbel in H. mantegazzianum), fruit wings with numerous spines situated on small spherical or ovoid swellings (while H. mantegazzianum has fruit wings hairless or with solitary spine-like hairs). Although H. sosnowskyi usually has few divided leaves with more rounded segments, the shape of leaves is extremely variable in both species and cannot, on its own, be used in species identification.
- Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is distinguished by its yellow flowers and hairless leaves that are simply divided into more than three leaflets with a v-shaped base.
- Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) is almost hairless and has characteristic purple bands at the base of the leaf and leaflets. Oil ducts of fruits are small and reach the base.
- Garden angelica (A. archangelica) is a common garden plant that is cultivated for its aromatic stems and oils distilled from the seeds and root. The plant grows to 100-230 cm tall, leaves and stem are hairless. Umbels are strongly convex with greenish flowers and the egg-shaped fruits are without conspicuous oil ducts.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
H. sosnowskyi has been recognized as an invasive plant by several European organizations (EPPO - http://www.eppo.org, DAISIE - http://www.europe-aliens.org, NOBANIS - http://www.nobanis.org), who also recommend management plans. A best practice manual has also been published by members of the EU-funded Giant Alien project (http://www.giant-alien.dk).
ReferencesTop of page
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16/07/09 Original text by:
Sarka Jahodova, Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Rep., Pruhonice, Czech Republic
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