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Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Heracleum lanatum

Cow Parsnip

Plant TypeForb
DescriptionA very noticeable plant. The leaves are large and coarse, deep green and roughly maple shaped, triangular, though with three identifiable lobes. It can grow very tall (6-8'). The stalks are very large, though hollow and covered with numerous white hairs. The flowers are are a white umbel like other Parsely family members, therefore positive identification is a must. The seeds are juicy and striped dark green on a lighter green. The eventually dry to a papery shell. In southern Alaska, during the summer, the white flowers really stand out against the green. It grows prolifically in moist areas and along roadsides at low elevations.
EdibilityThe seeds are suggested for use as a spice. I can imagine this, though it is a very unique taste, and seems medicinal to me.
ToxicityThis plant could be comfused for other poisonous member af the Parsely family. Use caution and make a positive identification.