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How to distinguish hogweed from angelica: is there a difference, similar plants

How to distinguish hogweed from angelica: is there a difference, similar plants

Hogweed is a fairly dangerous plant that can leave serious burns on human skin. Also, this herb can provoke pronounced allergic reactions. However, it has similarities with many other plants. To avoid problems, you need to know how to distinguish hogweed from angelica. The difference between them lies in the appearance and effect on the human body.

What kind of hogweed plant

Cowweed is a biennial or perennial plant. It has a different size of stems - from 20-50 to 250 centimeters.The specific height depends on the type of grass. The stems are hollow. They often have a rare pubescence. However, northern varieties are pubescent throughout.

The leaves of the plant form a rosette. They are long-petiolate and large in size. Hogweed has small white flowers. Sometimes they are green-yellow or bright pink in color and form complex umbrellas that reach 40 centimeters in diameter. The flowering of most varieties begins in June and lasts until August.

After flowering is completed, fruits appear on the bushes. They are two-seedlings of a special type and are called vislopards. Seed ripening occurs from July to September. However, they crumble easily.

What kind of angelica plant

Angelica is a biennial or perennial plant that has taproots. It is characterized by a fistulous stem, which reaches a length of 30-90 centimeters. Some plants grow up to 2.5 meters.

Angelica is characterized by small white flowers that can be pink or green-yellow in color. They form complex umbrellas. In this case, the petals have a lanceolate or elliptical shape.

After flowering, fruits appear on the angelica bushes. They are flattened from the back and have pterygoid marginal ribs.

Reasons why they are confused

The main reason why the plants in question are confused is the similarity in appearance. Both plants belong to the Umbrella family and have a number of common features. To distinguish one herb from another, it is recommended to consider a number of nuances.

Main differences

Cowweed and angelica are characterized by a number of distinctive features. They affect the appearance and effect on the human body.


Angelica trunk has a smooth surface, and from below it has a reddish color. The poisonous analogue is completely covered with hard hairs. Another feature of angelica is considered a pleasant aroma. All types of cow parsnip are characterized by a not too pleasant smell.

Influence on a person

The composition of the leaves and fruits of hogweed includes a large amount of essential oils. Contact with them can cause severe irritation and skin burns. Such reactions are due to the presence of furanocoumarins in the composition. These substances significantly increase the body's susceptibility to the effects of ultraviolet radiation.

The most severe burns appear on contact with cow parsnip in clear weather. However, in most cases, a little contact with the plant and a short exposure to the sun is enough.

Usually, a second-degree burn appears on the damaged areas of the skin. A particular danger lies in the fact that touching the hogweed does not cause discomfort. The problem appears after a few hours or even days.

Severe consequences are also caused by hogweed pollen. It can even penetrate clothing. May cause blindness if splashed into eyes.

Angelica, on the contrary, brings great benefits to the body. This plant is often used for medicinal purposes. It helps to cope with diseases of the digestive system, pathologies of the respiratory organs, toothaches. Also, angelica-based products successfully eliminate joint diseases and gynecological diseases in women.


Despite its phototoxicity, hogweed is an edible plant. It is consumed fresh, s alted or pickled. Also, greens are added to soups, and the stems are fried with flour.

Angelica is often used in folk medicine. For the treatment of various pathologies, it is permissible to use all parts of the plant. Experts advise digging up the roots at the stage of fruit ripening. They should be thoroughly washed and chopped. After that, it is recommended to dry the raw materials.

Angelica leaves for human consumption must be harvested in the spring. At the same time, you need to collect inflorescences and seeds in the fall.

Other plants that can be confused with hogweed

There are plants similar to cow parsnip, which many confuse with dangerous grass. These cultures include the following:

  1. Poisonous milestone - this perennial plant belongs to the Umbelliferae family. It is considered highly poisonous. First of all, it concerns the rhizome. The smell of milestones resembles parsley or celery. The plant is predominantly found on the banks of rivers and streams. At the same time, cow parsnip practically does not grow in such places.
  2. Hemlock is a biennial herbaceous weed with a wide distribution. The culture is considered deadly poisonous. At the same time, it has a paralyzing effect on the nervous system and gradually leads to respiratory arrest. When rubbing the fruit, an unpleasant, mousey smell usually appears.
  3. Kupyr forest is an annual plant that has many varieties. In appearance, the culture resembles carrots or parsley. It is used in cooking and traditional medicine.
  4. Snot - this perennial grass is widespread in Eurasia. It is often found in the shade of trees and loves fertile soil. This wild plant is often eaten.

Cowweed and angelica are herbs that belong to the same family. That is why many people confuse them. However, in fact, each of the cultures is characterized by unique features. They need to be carefully studied so as not to encounter the negative effects of hogweed on the body.

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