Scientific name: Heracleum maximum
What: young leaves, stem, roots, seeds
How: leaves-raw/cooked; stem and roots-peel then boil; seeds-dry then add to soups and stews
Where: shade, borders, woods, marsh
When: spring, summer, fall
Nutritional Value: sugars/calories in stem and roots
Dangers: WARNING: Similar-looking to deadly, foul-smelling hemlock! Also, juice and hairs of cow parsnip can irritate skin and contains suspected cancer-causing chemicals.
Cow parsnip plant (almost seven feet tall).
Closeup of flowers.
Another view of flowers.
Leaves of cow parsnips are huge, well over twelve inches across.
North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.