Giant hogweed (H. mantegazzianum) is one of the most aggressive invasive plant species in Europe and North America. It has spread rapidly in many European countries after introduction as an ornamental plant from its native area in Caucasus. The main mechanism of introduction into Europe, according to first records in most of western and northern Europe, was ornamental curiosity. In regions where it has recently been introduced, it occurs mainly in habitats near human settlements and river basins.
Giant hogweed is the largest herbaceous plant in the European flora and is considered a highly competitive species due to its rapid and prolific growth. The species often develops large and dominant stands and replaces the native vegetation. Besides the ecological problems, plants also represent serious health hazard for humans. The plant produces a sickly yellow sap that contains toxins which cause skin burns. Contact with the eyes can cause temporary and possibly permanent blindness. Current control methods are grazing, mechanical cutting or and chemical treatment.
In the Sava River basin, Giant hogweed was only found in Slovenia, near Ljubljana. Probably this plant escaped from the Ljubljana Botanical Garden in the 1980s to the center of Ljubljana and spread along railways. Active eradication is performed every year, which keeps spreading of this invasive species under control.
This plant species has not yet been wide spread in the Sava River basin. The most important thing is to inform the people.
If you see this invasive species, react, alert!
Do not touch it! Only an early detection and quick reaction can prevent the spread!