cow parsnip

any of several tall, coarse plants of the genus Heracleum, of the parsley family, as H. sphondylium or H. lanatum, having large, flat clusters of white flowers.

1540–50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cow parsnip
hogweed, Also called: keck any tall coarse umbelliferous plant of the genus Heracleum, such as H. sphondylium of Europe and Asia, having thick stems and flattened clusters of white or purple flowers

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica

cow parsnip

broadly, any plant of the genus Heracleum, in the parsley family (Apiaceae). The genus comprises about 60 species, which are distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and on tropical mountains. Cow parsnips are perennials, often several feet high, with large compound leaves and broad clusters of white or purplish flowers. H. sphondylium (eltrot, hogweed, or common cow parsnip [see ]), native to Eurasia, is now naturalized in eastern North America. H. mantegazzianum, the giant hogweed, is native to the Caucasus but is grown elsewhere as an ornamental. This striking plant can attain a height of 4 m (about 13 feet) and has a stout red-spotted stem and a white inflorescence up to 0.5 m in diameter. For species of the genus Sium, see water parsnip.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The stem of cow parsnip lacks purple mottling and its surface is downy or fuzzy.
Wear long sleeves and pants in late summer to limit exposure to overhanging cow parsnip.
The elk have also had a severe negative impact on other foods bears prefer such as cow parsnip and other species.
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