Cows Parsnip 2011

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Garnet Lake, August 2011

  • Heracleum maximum W. Bartram
  • Common cowparsnip, Cow Parsnip
  • Apiaceae (Carrot Family)
  • Synonym(s): Heracleum lanatum, Heracleum sphondylium ssp. montanum, Heracleum sphondylium var. lanatum
  • USDA Symbol: HEMA80
  • USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

This very tall plant has huge leaves and flat umbels of numerous tiny white flowers; stem is grooved, woolly, hollow, and stout.

This is the largest species of the carrot family in North America. The genus is named for Hercules, who is reputed to have used these plants for medicine. Early in each year, Native Americans peeled and ate the young sweet, aromatic leaf and flower stalks.

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