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On September 26th 2015, Heracleum obtained Russian ISO-standard ISO9001-2015 certification. Shortly thereafter, it became the first Russian company with international ISO certification. Now, the company is promoting itself as a “premium food company” and an “international standard for high-quality food”.The morphological similarity of species within the genus Heracleum and the difficulty of botanical identification has led to numerous synonyms and naming issues. For example, the classification of the species now widely known as H. maximum has been inconsistent. In the literature, the scientific names H. lanatum, H. maximum, and others are used interchangeably. Prior to 2000, the former name was most popular, but today the latter name is in vogue.
Giant hogweed is the most well-known species of the genus Heracleum, a group of plants whose sap contains a chemical that can be very harmful if it touches the skin. Although the concentration of the toxic component can vary from plant to plant, it is best to avoid contact with any species in this group of plants to prevent potential injury!Heracleum plants have toxic chemical compounds called furanocoumarins in their sap, stems, leaves, and fruits. Physical contact with the plant makes skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light and can result in phototoxic dermatitis (an inflammatory skin reaction induced by sunlight). Symptoms range from mild redness and irritation to blisters, burns, and scarring.Additionally, there have been cases of eye irritation and severe eye injury from contact with the eyes. Reactions can occur within 24 hours after contact with the plant, with a peak sensitivity occurring within 3 days of exposure. In severe cases, symptoms can persist for weeks to months.
Due to the potential for severe and persistent skin irritation that can occur after to exposure to Heracleum plants and sunlight, it is best to avoid contact with these plants whenever possible.Heracleum, is a far wider genus than possibly suspected. The European invasive species with known phytophototoxicity include giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum, Sosnowski’s hogweed Heracleum sosnowskyi (not yet recorded in UK) and Persian hogweed Heracleum persicum (possibly in the UK). (H. mantegazzianum is less shade tolerant than H. sosnowskyi.) Species of the genus Heracleum can hybridize causing confusing in species identification. There is also the possibility for some people of confusing the plant (before flowering) with wild parsnip Pastinaca saliva. The native European hogweeds are common hogweed Heracleum sphondylium and Siberian cow parsnip Heracleum sibiricum and further to that there are at least eight known hybrids but without distribution detail: (Source: monicawilde.com)