can anyone tell me what this plant is. It is low growing, has medium sized leaves that are rough in texture and robust stems. enter image description here enter image description here

  • 2
    Please provide additional information such as your location, weather conditions, where this plant is showing up (in your raised bed for eg.), etc.
    – JStorage
    Jun 1, 2017 at 0:48
  • 4
    Showing a few leaves is rarely enough to identify a plant unless it's ubiquitous worldwide such as dandelion. Your photo is a good start but showing the entire plant (preferably with something familiar alongside for scale), stem, how the leaves join the stems, etc makes it a lot easier for us.
    – Jude
    Jun 1, 2017 at 1:49
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    Okay, had some difficulty uploading pics of a certain size, hence the cropped picture. I am in aberdeenshire, the weather has been fairly dry over the last few weeks, and varied from frost in late April to sun this week. I cleared this area a year ago and covered with bark. I was weeding when I found it so there are no other plants close by. The plant is growing horizontally and is less than a meter in length and less that a foot high. I am in the country near farm land. Will attempt to upload a pic tomorrow. Jun 1, 2017 at 19:29
  • Could be cucumber if it is growing horizontally. The leaves look like it is from a cucumber, zucchini or squash. Did you plant any of these last year in the same location or close by?
    – JStorage
    Jun 2, 2017 at 18:31
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    I know what you mean, but I think they ts impossible. I did grow a lot of cucumbers in the past, but no where near this area. Not as rough as a cucumber either. Almost reminds me of rhubarb! Jun 2, 2017 at 18:42

3 Answers 3


I'm thinking it's perhaps cow parsnip (Heracleum sphodylium). I can't be certain as I don't know how commonly it's found in your area although I do know it occurs there. When the plant is still young, leaves may not be as divided or show the 'maple leaf' shape as strongly.

Here's a photo of the species from a UK site. I had to download the photo to show. When I tried to add the photo link, it said the format wasn't supported. enter image description here

If you think this might be correct, please be aware that cow parsnip and giant hogweed are very similar looking. But with giant hogweed, you need to exercise caution getting rid of it as contact with bare skin and the plant can result in skin rashes and blistering due to photosensitivity.

  • This looks correct indeed!
    – J. Chomel
    Jun 6, 2017 at 7:57
  • Thanks, not sure where it has come from as It is nowhere else to be seen. I have lots of sweet Cicely and cow parsley. I suppose it must have blown in on the wind. Jun 7, 2017 at 6:44
  • You mentioned you cleared the area a year ago and laid bark down. Wherever you got the bark from, do you think perhaps a seed may have been included? Or how about small field mammals like field mice bringing it in, either in the bark or droppings? The seeds of both sweet cicely and cow parsnip are too heavy to be carried on the wind.
    – Jude
    Jun 7, 2017 at 6:59

Yes its hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium grows to about 2.5 meters tall, generally considered a perennial, large umbels of white flowers on top and contains blistering agent in its sap, flowers from April to November, Distribution throughout Europe.

Its cousin Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum is twice are large and only really grows next to water this one however has a photo-sensitive blistering agent- very nasty that continues to be painful for many months afterwards. both when dug up have large tap roots going down quite a way 30cm+


It might be cardoon. I have not grown it myself so I am not very familar with it.


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