Heracleum lanatum


Cow Parsley



Some Facts:

• Native to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America.

• Grows in grasslands, meadows and forests. Needs a rich soil and plenty of room to grow. In the Marin Headlands they are found in moist, shaded areas.

• Huge Herb! These giants (it’s genus name, Heracleum comes from Hercules) can grow to 8 to 10 feet tall.

• The stems are hollow and hairy. Little white flowers grow in a cluster from a common stem (like an umbrella). It’s leaves are also very large.

• Good for erosion control.

• Natives gathered cow parsnip and ate them raw or roasted as a vegetable. Also the dried, grated roots were sometimes used medicinally to relieve swelling and common aches and pains.

• It is very important that you correctly identify this plant before you ingest it. Cow Parsnip looks very similar to Poison Hemlock, Water Hemlock and Giant Cow Parsnip- all of which can be dangerous.