I have a love/hate relationship with this flower. Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) is a widespread and common flower of the Dorset roadsides, hedgerows and grasslands.
Hogweed is a big, brash plant, you can't miss it. Although another white umbellifer it is quite distinctive because of its large, flat flower heads. It is a domineering plant giving nothing else much scope to survive and where it occurs it is almost impossible to get rid of. It is fast growing and spreads rapidly and our obsession with cutting road verges has led to the phenomenal spread of this plant. When everything has been cut down it opens the way for this plant to regrow very quickly, take the light from everything else and then, of course, disperse its seeds so that there are even more next year. I hate it for not giving anything else a chance.
However, one of my favourite summer pass times is to wander along a hedgerow where there is an abundance of hogweed and look at the flower heads. Each is a mini habitat and home to an amazing number of insects from soldier and longhorn beetles to hoverflies to small solitary wasps and so much more. Each flower head promises to reveal another interesting little creature to be inspected, admired and, perhaps, photographed. I love hogweed.