Sosnovsky hogweed is one of the most dangerous weeds. The toxic substances contained in it cause severe damage to the body. Rapidly spreading through cities and villages, malicious weeds pose a serious environmental threat, and therefore must be massively exterminated.
The expansion of the hogweed Sosnowski
In the history of its distribution, there are still not completely clarified circumstances. This plant was first discovered in Georgia in 1944. That it is named after D.I. Sosnovsky is nothing more than a tribute of respect to the famous Soviet botanist. The scientist has really studied the Caucasus flora all his life. But, paying a lot of attention to asters and grapes, he did not have a direct relationship to this species of hogweed. The plant was discovered not by Dmitry Ivanovich, but by another botanist - his colleague I.P. Mandenova.
However, there is a completely different version: supposedly this plant was bred artificially. For its basis, breeders took wild specimens that grew in the mountains of Armenia. Plants attracted their attention with their gigantic size and huge green mass. Scientists have created a fodder miracle culture from them. She was supposed to raise the livestock of the USSR to an unprecedented height. True, there is not a single source from which one could learn the names of breeders and the name of the research institute where they worked ...
There is a third version. In the difficult post-war years, Stalin learned that in the United States, cow parsnip was extremely successful in feeding livestock. Thanks to this, it grows like yeast. The head of the country gave instructions to grow a super-promising plant everywhere. The initiators of the introduction to the culture of the wild giant were the scientists of the Komi, Leningrad, Kola, Belorussian branches of the All-Russian Agricultural Academy. Subsequently, the cultivation of the feed plant was supported by Khrushchev, Brezhnev.
Over the course of several decades, many laudatory dissertations defended the virtues of a “generous” culture. However, one thing is strange: none of the scientists mentioned the poisonous properties of the hogweed Sosnowski. But after a few years, the negative consequences of its implementation were revealed.
Cows ate such a silo reluctantly. Milk, due to feeding, acquired a bitter aftertaste. Moreover, the reproductive system of cows was affected - they became barren. The birth of calf freaks has become more frequent. Upon contact with plants, animals received non-healing burns for a long time ...
Gradually, on the ground, they secretly began to abandon the cultivation of a poisonous plant. But only in 2015, the hogweed of Sosnovsky was officially deprived of the status of an agricultural crop and qualified as a dangerous weed No. 5506. However, over many decades the plant has spread throughout the country, becoming almost a national environmental disaster. According to some estimates, only in the European part of Russia it has invaded more than 1 million hectares of land! That is why the need for a total struggle with it is declared.
Botanical characteristics of the plant
In Russia, there are about 40 different species of this plant. Including safe, edible varieties: Siberian hogweed, shaggy. Their roots taste like cabbage. Therefore, many of our ancestors for centuries cooked the first dishes from "borschin", made preparations for the winter in the form of pickles, pickles.
Among the most dangerous is the hogweed of Sosnowski. Heracleum sosnowskyi (Heracleum of Sosnowski) - this is the Latin name of this plant. It was given to him by the ancient Roman scholar Pliny. Spreading bush with its gigantic size can really be associated with Hercules. It is also noteworthy that, according to mythological traditions, the ancient hero died from the poisonous juice of grass.
Plant Botanical Status:
- clan - hogweed, family - Umbrella,
- stem - ribbed, partially covered with villi, purple or gray-brown with dark red spots, 1-2 m high, sometimes reaching 4-5 m,
- the root system is powerful, pivotal, the main roots penetrate to a depth of about 2 m,
- leaves - yellowish-green, cirrus or ternate, 1.2-1.9 m long,
- inflorescence - an umbrella up to 80 cm in diameter from 30-150 flowers, flowers are white, rarely pinkish, flowering time is July-August,
- fruits - 10-12 mm long and 6-8 mm wide, ovoid, seed ripening period - July-September.
The plant usually develops for 3 years, until it blooms and gives seeds, and then dies. Nature generously endowed Hercules grass with the benefits that contribute to its rapid expansion. In spring, it appears before many other plants. Surprisingly, young growth does not die even with severe frosts around -10 ° C. It grows extremely quickly: by 8-12 cm - every day. At the same time, Sosnowski hogweed quickly displaces local plants.
Weed is strikingly undemanding to growing conditions. It has a rare survivability, it adapts even to pesticides! Self-pollinating, shows great fecundity. The plant produces many seeds of high germination, which are updated annually. They are lightweight and therefore quickly spread over long distances by the wind.
Sosnovsky hogweed grows 1-2 m high, sometimes reaching 4-5 m.
How to recognize the hogweed of Sosnowski
His aggression knows no bounds. Where single specimens first appear, entire thickets soon form. They inhibit the growth of any other vegetation. Favorite places for weed growth are ravines, virgin and abandoned lands, places of garbage dumps, ditches along roads.
Distinctive features of the hogweed Sosnowski:
- giant growth
- leaves with jagged edges; in harmless varieties, they are thin, sharp, elongated,
- white inflorescences, in other species pinkish or greenish flowers.
Safe hairy hogweed differs from a poisonous specimen in much smaller sizes, bristly stalk, yellow flowers. The edible hogweed of the Siberian and medicinal plants angelica (angelica) has light green, not purple stems without spots, the flowers are almost the same light green color.
(yes, it’s not easy with hogweed)
While working on an article about wild poisonous plants, I did not include representatives of the hogweed genus, since the story of the history of human relations with this plant could not be reduced to the format "a small section in the review article."
To the family hogweed (Heracleum) umbrella families (Apiaceae) belong, according to various estimates, from 52 to 60 species of biennial and perennial herbaceous plants, common in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, as well as in the mountainous regions of Eurasia. The southern boundary of the range of the genus is Ethiopia. In the territory of the former USSR, 40 species are known. Some species of cow parsnip are cultivated as ornamental plants, some as fodder plants, and the species is edible for humans. The Russian name of the plant (as well as its name in other Slovenian languages) is associated with the word "borsch", and it is no coincidence - edible hogweed has been traditionally used in cooking, saved not one thousand lives from starvation (especially during the war and in the post-war period) and was generally known as edible until the 1970s - 1980s, until the catastrophic consequences of the unsuccessful experience of introducing and culturing some representatives of the genus were revealed. Today the word “cow parsnip” is well-known to everyone, and in a rather negative sense - we say “cow parsnip”, and immediately in the head the keywords: poisonous plant, harmful weed, control measures, quarantine. Let's talk about what kinds of this plant and what related events have spoiled the reputation of the family as a whole.
The genus Hogweed unites closely related plants, but still this taxonomic group is heterogeneous. As part of the genus, the Pubescentia section (pubescent, fluffy) is distinguished, combining several species of cow parsnip, differing in gigantic size and an increased content of biologically active substances. It was the representatives of this section that spoiled the hogweed’s reputation, and two species of the giant hogweed were especially “tried” - hogweed of Sosnowski (Heracleum sosnowskyi) and Hogweed Mantegazz and (Heracleum mantegazzianum), which are the largest representatives of not only the genus, but the entire family of umbellate. They tried, of course, not independently, but with the active help of a person, and the geography of defeat in these species is somewhat different. From an unsuccessful attempt to cultivate Sosnowski hogweed, the territories of the former USSR were mainly affected, and Mantegazzi hogweed is notorious in Western and Northern Europe, where it was introduced and cultivated as an ornamental plant until it became natural and became an aggressive weed. These two species differ little from each other, and the consequences of their introduction are the same. Since the hogweed of Sosnowski is distributed in our country, let us dwell on it.
A little note about weeds
But before telling about the history of the introduction of hogweed, I would like to make an important "lyrical digression" about the so-called "weeds" and their important role in ecosystems. When we talk about "harmful" plants and "weeds", it is necessary to understand that in the developed ecosystems, among the local species of plants and animals, there are no harmful or beneficial ones, everyone has their own ecological niche, everyone in the ecosystem has its own function, the number of each species is regulated by established competitive relationships in this community of living beings. For example, the species that we call weeds and weed in beds and flower beds are pioneer species in ecosystems that provide the first stages of restoration of a forest or meadow after some catastrophic events (fire, deforestation, plowing, and so on). In those periods when the plant community exists stably, there is almost no place for “weeds” in its composition (since the so-called “pioneer” species have extremely low competitive ability), and they persist locally in the ecosystem, in places of minor damage (for example, open soil twisted by the roots of a giant tree, moleholes and other similar habitats), as well as in the form of a stock of seeds in the soil. Problems with the mass development of weeds and their crowding out of other plants begin if the “weed” species enters another region and / or another ecosystem, where it has no competitors and no mechanisms have been formed to restrain its abundance. There are a huge number of such examples on the planet, and for the most part they are associated with the activities of a person who, when resettling on the continents, specially or accidentally brought with him "weed" species.
About the hogweed of Sosnowski
The history of the introduction of the hogweed Sosnowski is a clear illustration of what troubles can be done by making important decisions in the absence of information, as well as in a hurry when there is no time for a comprehensive study of the issue. Popular rumor ascribes merit and says "thank you very much" for the consequences to Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, and it is justly deserved, since he ardently supported the introduction of Sosnowski hogweed into the culture in different regions, and it was during his years of leadership that the cultivation of hogweed reached enormous volumes. But this story began under Stalin, in the late 1940s.
The natural range of the hogweed of Sosnowski, like almost all other species of giant hogweed of this section, is limited to mountain forests and subalpine meadows in the mountains of the Caucasus, Transcaucasia and Turkey. The history of this species as a separate taxonomic unit is rather short - the hogweed of Sosnowski was described in 1944 from the historical and cultural region of Meskhetia by the researcher Ida Mandeeva, an employee of the herbarium of the Botanical Institute named after Komarova (Leningrad). The first introduction experiment took place three years after the discovery and description of the hogweed Sosnowski as a new species. The site "Pro Hogweed" (the authors of which have collected the most complete information about this plant and monitor its distribution) are named by botanists-researchers who initiated the introduction and cultivation of hogweed Sosnowski. But a sarcastic “thank you” to these people would be very inappropriate if you recall the conditions under which they worked and made decisions. The 1940s was the Great Patriotic War and the period of post-war famine and devastation, almost all of the country's resources were spent for victory. According to the speed of development of events, how quickly a new, literally just described, species of cow parsnip was "put into circulation", it can be concluded that the experts received a task from the party - urgently to find some suitable silage plant that will help quickly restore the livestock and solve part of the big problem of providing the country with food. P. Vavilov, a famous breeder, a leading world-famous specialist, spoke about the need to quickly restore agriculture and the positive role of the hogweed in solving this problem, and in some literature sources the initiative to introduce Sosnovsky’s hogweed into the culture was attributed to him.
It is quite understandable, and for which particular properties, the experts chose this species as a new promising silage plant. Sosnovsky’s hogweed is unpretentious, can grow under different lighting conditions, does not require fertile soil and a mild climate for its cultivation, grows well in the northern regions of the country (in areas of risky farming), and is practically not affected by pests. Moreover, it is rich in nutrients and vitamins, has gigantic dimensions for a herbaceous plant (its height reaches three to four meters), and demonstrates a high growth rate. All cow parsnip are characterized by rapid growth, but the representatives of the section to which Sosnowski hogweed belongs can be champions - their growth rate is twice as high as that of common hogweed and Siberian hogweed (species that have a long tradition of being used as edible plants). The yield of Sosnowski hogweed is more than 2500 centners per hectare, and the sugar content in the ground parts of the plant is up to 3% of fresh weight. Yes, specialists can be understood - here it is, an ideal solution, a potential silage plant that has no analogues in the flora of the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. It is also quite understandable why scientists did not have enough time to study the long-term effect of biologically active compounds of hogweed on animals and humans. And so the story began of introducing hogweed Sosnowski into culture - first in experimental farms, and then everywhere. The first experience of introducing this plant took place in the Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden (Murmansk Region). During the 1950s and 1960s, hogweed was grown throughout the European part of Russia, in the Baltic states, in the territories of modern Ukraine and Belarus, in 1962 Sosnovsky hogweed was brought to Sakhalin, where it was also cultivated as a silage plant. The main centers of introduction of the hogweed Sosnowski in the 1950s-1980s were: the Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden (Apatity, Murmansk Region), the Institute of Biology of the Komi Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Syktyvkar, Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic), Botanical Institute named after V.L. Komarova (Leningrad, Otradnoe station), Regional Studies Botanical Garden of Kabardino-Balkaria, branch of the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature (Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria), All-Russian Research Institute of Feed named after V.R. Williams (Lobnya, Moscow region), TSHA them.Timiryazev (Moscow, the Mikhailovsky School). It was these institutions and their experimental farms that supplied the regions with hogweed seeds and studied this plant under conditions of introduction. The results of introducing hogweed into the culture were widely reported in newspaper publications of those years, experimental stations and introducer scientists reported on successes, hogweed in publications called the “northern miracle”.
Problems with the hogweed of Sosnowski began quite quickly. In the very first years of introduction, there were cases of burns in people when the ground parts of the plant came in contact with bare skin. Later it turned out that the cause of burns is furanocoumarins (psoralen, bergapten and methoxalen), which are contained in the juice of the plant, and under the influence of ultraviolet rays (sunlight) turn into a chemically active form and cause extensive severe burns (up to death). Burns appear when the affected area of the skin is subsequently exposed to sunlight. In itself, the contact of bare skin with Sosnowski hogweed is not so terrible (especially since it does not cause any particularly unpleasant sensations), as the subsequent stay of the victim in the open sun.
Recommended precautions in contact with Sosnowski hogweed - close the damaged area of the skin from the sun, rinse as soon as possible under running water, avoid contact with the sun rays on the affected surface for two days.
If the juice of the hogweed of Sosnowski gets into the eyes, it leads to loss of vision due to severe burns of the cornea, and if swallowed, it leads to swelling of the larynx and esophagus. Nevertheless, Sosnowski hogweed was widely cultivated on the territory of the USSR as a silage plant, until it became clear that this mission had failed. Fumarocoumarins, when ingested, have estrogenic activity, causing infertility and impaired lactation in cows. Sosnovsky hogweed juice also has a pronounced mutagenic effect, causing gross chromosomal aberrations (“breakdowns”). Some sources indicate that the mass use of hogweed Sosnowski as a silage plant ceased after it became clear that it was he who caused chronic cattle diseases, the appearance of weak, non-viable offspring in cows, and the appearance of bitterness in their milk. Some sources mention the carcinogenic effect of hogweed furanocoumarins.
After the unsuccessful experience of using hogweed Sosnowski as a feed plant, it was no longer specially grown in the fields. But getting rid of him was not so easy. This is a perennial plant (life span of 3-4 years), tall, with a developed root system, with strong stems, dangerous to humans. In addition, the cow parsnip produces a huge amount of seeds, most of which fall out not far from the mother plant, but they are also easily spread over great distances, clinging to shoes, paws of animals, wheels of cars and bicycles. The gigantic size and rapid growth of the hogweed Sosnowski from his advantages turned into a problem, because in the flora of the regions where he naturalized, he has no competitors even among the most aggressive and fast-growing weeds. Hogweed Sosnowski successfully displaces local plant species, capturing not only fields, vacant lots and roadsides, but also meadows and forest edges. A surge in the uncontrolled spread of hogweed in the European part of Russia and in the Urals occurred in the 1990s, during a protracted crisis in the country, when large areas of agricultural land were abandoned (there’s an expanse of hogweed!). To date, Sosnovsky’s hogweed has spread in the European part of Russia, in the Urals, is moving east - quite a lot of its locations are registered in Western Siberia, including in the Novosibirsk region and Altai, and the easternmost point where it was found is located not far from Krasnoyarsk. The artificial population of hogweed Sosnowski in Sakhalin became a source of its distribution throughout the Far East, it is noted in the vicinity of Vladivostok, one location is known in Korea. In the southern direction, the hogweed of Sosnowski "reached" Uzbekistan. In addition to Russia, the mass development of the hogweed Sosnovsky was noted in the territories of Ukraine and Belarus, Poland, as well as in the Baltic states.
Currently, this plant is quarantined, universally listed in the so-called "black books", subject to destruction in all habitats. The fight against Sosnowski hogweed includes its mechanical destruction (before seed ripening) and the use of herbicides, but the effectiveness of these two agents is small, and the weed continues to capture new territories. Control over its distribution also includes fines for owners of land plots that have not destroyed a hogweed on their territory.
And yet, despite the expansion of the hogweed Sosnowski, in our region there are not many places where he grows, and the likelihood of meeting him is still small. In the vicinity of Novosibirsk (as in other regions of Western Siberia), another species of hogweed is widespread - Siberian hogweed (Heracleum sibiricum), which also contains furanocoumarins (like all species of the genus), but their concentration in the juice of Siberian hogweed is much lower. Siberian hogweed is also considered a weed, but as a weed it is much less aggressive than giant hogweeds. Plants of this species are smaller, have a lower growth rate and (most importantly) this is a local species that has long and steadily existed in plant communities due to the existing natural mechanisms for regulating its number. Another factor limiting the distribution of Siberian hogweed is its high demands on humidification conditions; this plant prefers moist habitats; it occurs under the forest canopy, at the edges, and also in moist meadows.
Siberian hogweed is an edible plant. Despite the name, its range is not limited to Western Siberia, this species grows in the wild also in the Caucasus and in the European part of Russia, there are populations in Kazakhstan and in Crimea. For eating, parts of a young plant are used before flowering begins. In early summer, during the period of active growth of leaves and flower-bearing shoots, the content of furanocoumarins in its juice is low, and the hogweed is not dangerous, but rather quite tasty and healthy. Other edible representatives of this genus - common hogweed (European Hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium) and hairy hogweed (Heracleum villosum), used as a spice. The Russian name of the plant is cognate with the word borsch, but it is no longer possible to establish which of the names was the first - soup or plant, and what it was named after. There are indications in the literature that hogweed leaves in borsch were replaced with beets only at the end of the 18th century, and before that this soup was cooked only from grass. But one thing is certain for sure - soup from young leaves of hogweed did not occupy the last place in the summer menu of the peasant family, saved from hunger at that time of the year when the previous harvest was already eaten, and the new one had not yet grown. Hogweed, like chubby, was one of the most popular food plants in Russia before the cultivation of cabbage. In addition to cooking in soup, stalks of flower stalks of hogweed were pickled and fermented, fried, and also consumed raw (for salad or just like that) or in dried form (as sweets). Moonshine was also driven from the stems of the hogweed. The great advantage of hogweed over other edible plants is its unpretentiousness - the crop is guaranteed every year, in any case, regardless of the weather. Fresh leaves of Siberian hogweed are also used for livestock feed - animals eat them without any negative consequences, unlike fresh leaves of hogweed Sosnowski.
My personal experience in eating young peduncles of Siberian hogweed began in early childhood, at about four years old. My grandfather showed me this plant (called a "bunch") next to our summer house and taught me what to do with it before eating. The torn tubular stem of a young flower-bearing shoot must be cleaned of the outer pubescent layer and everything can be eaten. The taste is somewhat specific, about the same as in the dream, but not so pronounced, and in my opinion, very pleasant. You can have fun in this way until the beginning of flowering, at this point mechanical tissues develop in the stems and leaves of the hogweed, and parts of the plant become childish, fibrous, unfit for eating. In the literature, there are references that peasants of central Russia used hogweed for food all summer, cleaning the coarsened parts of mechanical tissue (which is not difficult in principle, since it is located in the stems and leaves of the plant quite compactly, in the form of strands). But I hope that our country will no longer undergo such socio-economic processes in which these tips could be relevant.
It is not difficult to distinguish the edible Siberian hogweed from the dangerous hogweed of Sosnowski. Siberian hogweed is much smaller, grows approximately in human height or slightly higher (but not up to three or more meters), its leaves and inflorescences are much smaller. The leaves of the Siberian hogweed differ from the leaves of the hogweed Sosnowski and their shape - they are deeper dissected, the edges of the blades are somewhat pointed (at the hogweed of Sosnowski the leaf is not very deep cut, the lobes are rounded).
Is it possible to get burned with Siberian hogweed in the same way as Sosnowski hogweed? You can, but you have to try. The probability of this event is quite high not always, but only under certain conditions - the plant becomes relatively dangerous during the flowering and ripening of the fruits (when the concentration of fumarocoumarins in its juice is maximum), and in addition, dry, hot weather should stand (at least a couple of days ) But I do not know (and could not find in the literature) a single case where burns with Siberian hogweed would lead to the same serious consequences that they usually lead to like burns from Sosnowski hogweed. Perhaps this is due to not such high concentrations of fumarocoumarins in its juice.
As a conclusion - be careful and enjoy your meal!
What is the danger of hogweed Sosnowski
Sosnovsky hogweed has been cultivated since the mid-twentieth century in the USSR as a silage. But then it became clear that the plant easily becomes wild. It penetrates into natural ecological systems and is capable of almost completely destroying them. The leaves of the hogweed of Sosnowski, as well as its fruits, contain essential oils, and they contain furanocoumarins. These substances are photosensitizing. And in case of contact with the skin can increase their susceptibility to ultraviolet radiation. This can provoke bullous dermatitis, which proceeds like a burn. Just because of clarification of these negative properties, attempts to cultivate this plant on an industrial scale were stopped.
The hidden danger of the hogweed Sosnowski
As mentioned earlier, the leaves and fruits of this plant contain furanocoumarins - photosensitizing compounds. The danger is that in direct contact with the cow parsnip there are no unpleasant sensations. But after getting into this place of sunlight, a burn quickly develops. If more than 80% of the body is affected, death is possible. There are situations when tents were lined with leaves of hogweed, used as toilet paper or as sun linings. All this provokes very sad consequences.
In contact with the cow parsnip, it is recommended to take the following actions:
- quickly remove the affected area from the light, close it tightly with a cloth,
- in a dark place with soap, rinse this place very carefully,
- Do not expose to sunlight for 2-3 days,
- when burns occur, immediately consult a doctor, you can’t do anything on your own, especially piercing bubbles.
For treatment, ointments of fucorcin, synthomycin, as well as bepantene and zinc paste are usually prescribed. If the area of the phytochemical burn is less than a palm, you can lubricate the damage with lavender oil. If more - lavender oil can be mixed in half with any fatty oil and treat the burn site with this mixture.
Hogweed Sosnowski: the history of the appearance in Russia
Initially, hogweed Sosnowski began to be cultivated in the USSR in order to feed them cattle. It would seem that for these purposes he was ideally suited: the plant is large, the leaves are fleshy, insects are not afraid of him. Yes, and frosts, too, and gives a lot of seeds. But the properties of this species have not been fully investigated and sown in large quantities. And the cow parsnip did not fit the food: the milk of the cows after it was bitter, calves with various anomalies began to be born. That is, the plant became a provocateur of various kinds of chromosomal aberrations during gestation. Hogweed stopped growing almost immediately. But this did not help: the plant was wild and widespread.
Hogweed Sosnowski: distribution
Hogweed Sosnowski grows in vivo in the Central and Eastern Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Turkey. In these places it can be found in mountain forests, as well as in subalpine meadows.
Due to the cultivation of this plant as a silage culture, it has spread throughout Northern and Eastern Europe. And over time, he went into wild natural conditions, sowed the banks of ponds, roadside lanes, vacant lots, uncultivated fields, edges and glades in the forest, mountain slopes.
In the Russian Federation, the most unfavorable from the point of view of the distribution of hogweed is the central and northwestern territories. At the moment, activities are underway to map the growth of this plant. For this, a whole database of the distribution of invasive plant species, RIVR, was developed.
According to preliminary estimates, the area of growth of the hogweed Sosnovsky in the European part of the Russian Federation is about a million hectares.
How to deal with hogweed
An effective method of dealing with this far from harmless plant is plowing and disking thickets with further planting of Jerusalem artichoke tubers. Planting Jerusalem artichoke directly in the thickets of Heracléum sosnówskyi is practiced. But the natural pest for him is hogweed moth.
Another way to combat hogweed in areas is to use herbicides containing glyphosate and some other active substances. Processing is carried out 2-3 times per season.
Also covering materials are used - geo-canvas or black film. With their help, the access of light to the plant is blocked. It is recommended to cover the cow parsnip for the entire growing season.
Note! Mowing thickets, pruning or rooting out stalks, using hay or a non-fabric as a covering material are useless methods and will not help in the fight against cow parsnip on the site.
Biennial or perennial, monocarpic (that is, it blooms and bears fruit once in a lifetime, after which it dies). A very large plant. Its height is usually more than a meter, but in many places specimens up to 4 meters high can be found. The stalk is grooved-ribbed, rough, partially fleecy, purple or with purple spots, carries very large ternary or cirrus dissected leaves, usually yellowish-green in color, 1.4–1.9 m long. The root system is pivotal, the main mass of roots is layer up to 30 cm, individual roots reach a depth of 2 meters.
Inflorescence is a large (up to 50-80 cm in diameter) complex umbrella, consisting of 30-75 rays. The flowers are white or pink, the outer petals of the marginal flowers in each umbrella are greatly enlarged. Each inflorescence has from 30 to 150 flowers. Thus, there can be more than 80,000 flowers per plant.
It blooms from July to August, the fruits ripen from July to September.
Fruits are obovate or broadly elliptic, up to 10-12 mm long and up to 8 mm wide, planted long along the back, and spiky hairs at the base. The mass of 1000 seeds is 12-16 g. The shelf life of seeds is 2 years.