Heracleum maximum

Cow Parsnip

Erect, stout, strongly scented, covered with long hairs. Stem single, hollow, usually branched. Leaves huge, maple-like, with 4–16 in. long petiole enlarged at base and widely sheathing. Leaf blade divided palmately into 3 parts, each to 12 in. long and coarsely toothed. Umbels of flower heads often more than 10 in. across, flat. Grows in streambanks, open or lightly shaded woods, moist places, from near coastline to high elevations. A large plant appropriately named for Hercules, son of Zeus, a mortal of extraordinary power and size.

  • Rarity: Common
  • Flowering Time: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Height: 3--10 feet
  • Habitat: Coastal, Meadow, Vernal Wet, West-Side Forest, East-Side Forest, Disturbed, Subalpine
  • Found In: Olympic Np, Mt. Rainier Np, N Cascades Np, Wallowas, Siskiyous, West Gorge, East Gorge, Columbia Basin, Steens
  • Native: Yes

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