DAY 73 (17 JUNE) – Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) (St Swithin’s Way, Hants)
Saw this weird-looking plant while walking St Swithin’s Way today. What you notice is how tall it is on a fiercely prickly stem, against the jumble of other weeds and nettles. They can reach over 6ft.
Then on top is a work of art. This one reminded me of a bird perched on a branch. Each ends with a flourish of tiny leaves. Some were just coming into flower – June is when they start – with a mass (or mess) of pink buds.
The name hogweed refers to its pig-like smell – but I didn’t notice…
Other odd facts: 1) Borscht derives from an ancient soup originally cooked from its pickled stems, leaves and flowers. 2) In Romania it’s used as a aphrodisiac… weirder and weirder.