Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) found growing in the middle of Frome, in a small close surrounded by houses. This amazing plant, native to the Caucasus, was introduced to the UK in the nineteenth century and is evidently here to stay. (From the UK it has spread to much of W. Europe and N. America)
The photo below gives a better view of the plant, but without such an obvious scale comparison.
A younger plant nearby. The plants are monocarpal, that is, they live for 5-7 years but only flower in their final year.
This one must have been damaged earlier in the year, and consequently is only the same height as a normal hogweed. It did give me a chance to get closer to the flowers.
You can still tell it isn't normal hogweed, mainly because the leaves look so different. Hogweed (H. sphondylium) is hispid, i.e. harshly bristly-hairy, on nearly all surfaces.Giant Hogweed is, at most, softly pubescent (I told you not to touch it!!), and the upper surface of the rather lax-looking leaves is pretty much hairless.
Compound umbel, above.
Below is one of the individual umbellules.