it has beautiful flowers and impresses with its immense height. However all parts of the plant offer toxic substances which can cause inflammation and swellings on the skin.
Giant and Common Hogweed are categorized into the family of the Apiacaes. Giant Hogweeds can reach an immense height what means up to four meters. They have white flowers which already begin to bloom in February so that this plant offers the first flowers of the year. All parts of the plant offer sap which consists out of the poisonous substance Furanocoumarin. In combination with sunlight it causes toxic effects on the skin what means swellings and even blisters. If horses have any contact with this plant it can cause really dangerous inflammations.
In opposite to this the Common Hogweed has less poisonous effects.
It has a different outward appearance because it only grows up to 1,5 meters and besides white the flowers can also have a green or pink color.
Different time of bloom
A further difference is the time of bloom because the first flowers of the Common Hogweed begin to show their beauty in June. Generally it has a less toxic danger than Great Hogweed. Nevertheless one needs to be aware of the unripe fruits because they provide poisonous substances.
In general one needs to control all places where horses are without supervision (e.g. pastures) if there are any poisonous plants.
For the removal of Hogweed one needs to wear special protective clothing which prevents from any contact with the skin.