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There's a relatively big scare in local news about the Heracleum sosnowskyi plant, considering how dangerous it can be.

I was strolling through the park when I noticed these plants - the ones I photographed were rather small, but there have been a lot bigger examples in the park as well. For reference, I live in Poznań, Poland.

I have a feeling this isn't Heracleum sosnowskyi, but the only reason I'm thinking this is because it was in a local park where there are a lot of people / kids, and if there were any dangerous plants there there would be an uproar... but I'd rather be sure, thus I'm posting this question.

Photo 1 Photo 2

Is this Heracleum sosnowskyi?

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  • $\begingroup$ Just out of curiosity, are the leaves belong to this plant? Although it looks like "Stalin's revenge" to me. read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heracleum_sphondylium Similar species. $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 21 '15 at 8:12
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    $\begingroup$ Given what I know about Heracleum sosnowskyi I didn't want to touch the thing, and I took the photos with my phone (questionable quality, I know). As such, I cannot really tell which leaves belong to the plant in question and which belong to other, nearby plants @DevashishDas... $\endgroup$ – Shaamaan Jul 21 '15 at 8:54
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    $\begingroup$ Added a source for the danger posed by the plant (and related members of the genus). $\endgroup$ – March Ho Jul 21 '15 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ Where were the pictures taken? Species ID questions are very hard to answer without that info. $\endgroup$ – fileunderwater Jul 21 '15 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ @fileunderwater I'll add that information to the question. $\endgroup$ – Shaamaan Jul 22 '15 at 7:01
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No, I don't think it looks like Heracleum sosnowskyi. To me, the plant in your pictures looks similar to Angelica sylvestris (which is common in Poland), but there are many species in Apiaceae with a similar apparence and I'm not familiar with all of them. Species in the Heracleum genus has leafs that are "lobed" and all leaflets aren't as separated as the plant in your pictures (overall, the leafs of Heracleum look quite different), and the stem is usually "swollen" where the leafs connect (i.e. the leaf stems are swollen). Plants of Heracleum sosnowskyi (and H. mantegazzianum) are also much larger, and they often have a fussy apparence because of the bristle hairs.

Angelica sylvestris (picture from from wikimedia commons) enter image description here

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I'd say it's an imposter, but depending on the stage of it's life cycle, characteristics may differ. The following webpage lists identifying factors for giant hogweed, as well as some plants that may be mistaken for it (but of course, they aren't). The lack of purple splotches and white hairs around the stalk bases, and leaves are signaling to me that this is not giant hogweed. It looks like it may just be wild parsnip. Take a look at that webpage, giant hogweed is quite... giant.

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  • $\begingroup$ The reason I was worried is that before something gets big... it starts out small. ;) Unless only fully grown plants are harmful... PS. I'm getting a time-out on that page... $\endgroup$ – Shaamaan Jul 22 '15 at 7:06

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