Introduced into Britain in 1893 as an ornamental plant, Giant Hogweed escaped from domestication and proceeded to colonise areas of wasteland and riverbanks. It can grow to 5 metres tall and has a large characteristic arrangement of white flowers.
Giant Hogweed spreads very rapidly via seed dispersal and can take several years to achieve adequate control. Each plant can disperse about 50,000 seeds, so it is essential to prevent flowering.
The plant is predominantly biennial although on occasion triennial, producing a single growth of seed heads during either the second or third year. After flowering the plant dies, allowing the surrounding seedlings to mature.
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