Stalin's revenge?

david.j.daulton djd at cbnewsg.cb.att.com
Mon Jul 25 16:29:29 EST 1994


In article <fjryan-230794122736 at 128.120.103.35> fjryan at ucdavis.edu (Fred Ryan) writes:
>
>There was a short piece in the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday, July
>24, describing a weed spreading through Poland and eastern Europe. It has
>large umbrella shaped leaves, some sort of thorns or at least irritating
>hairs, and is noted in the paper as being the product of a breeding program
>in the USSR during the Stalin era, hence the name. Can anyone identify this
>plant?

I too saw the newspaper article, and was irritated that it did not
included the Latin binomial.  From the article I read (which did not
mention thorns), I guessed may be a cultivar of the giant hogweed.

(Sorry, I can't recall the Latin binomial right now, but I think it
may be something like "Heraclea macrophyla".)

The giant hogweed created something of a media sensation some years ago
in England, where it has escaped from gardens into lowlands around streams,
and where some children making been-shooters from its hollow stems came
down with a poison-ivy type reaction.  I believe there was even a song
written on the theme of "the attack of the giant hogweeds".

I have heard that it is banned as a noxious weed in the U.S., although
I have grown it in my garden (before I heard about it being banned)
and I never had any problems with skin irritation. I guess here in the
U.S. where we have REAL poison ivy, lesser imitators are not viewed with
much alarm.

Dave Daulton, Columbus, Ohio



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