Fight Giant Bear Claw (Hercules Shrub) - 12 tips

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In some parts of Germany, the Giant Bear Claw spreads, particularly affected North Rhine-Westphalia should be. As the common name Herkulesstaude suggests, it is a plant of impressive size and beauty.

Unfortunately, it can be very uncomfortable for people with the slightest contact. Therefore, the giant Bärenklau should be fought, which is not easy and can take quite. There are some important tips to consider when fighting:
Fight Giant Bear Claw

  1. The Giant Bear Claw (Heracleum mantegazzianum) originally grew only in the Caucasus, but was already introduced in the 19th century in the European part of Eurasia. Here the imposing perennial is not welcomed, it threatens not only humans, but also the native flora and fauna, by displacing native plants and causing considerable erosion damage on the shores of waters.

  1. People should beware of any contact with the giant umbel, the juice of all plant parts contains furanocoumarins. These are photosensitizing substances that sometimes cause severe, burn-like and poorly healing skin damage when the skin is exposed to normal UV radiation from sunlight after exposure to the plant. For sensitive people and children even a longer stay next to the plant can be enough, UV light can trigger the harmful effects even days later. The greatest efficacy is exhibited by the phototoxic substances when UV irradiation occurs 30 minutes to 2 hours after contact with the plant, the symptoms appear after about 24 hours.

Health risks and precautions

  1. That is why all people who actively participate in the fight against the Giant Bear Claw are required: A complete protective gear is required, complete clothing consisting of thick and firm material, gloves and goggles, which also protects the eye area laterally. Work should be done overcast or in the evening, as UV radiation is lower at these times. You should not use electrically operated brushcutters (brushcutters, lawn trimmers), because these devices are very dangerous to splashing plant juice.

  1. If plant juice gets on the skin, it should be washed off immediately with soap and water. Depending on the size of the affected area of ​​the skin, you should consult a doctor as a precaution. In any case, the affected areas must not be exposed to sunlight for at least 72 hours. In the next few months, you must protect these areas with sunscreen throughout.
  2. The Herculean shrub spreads more and more because it is capable of producing an incredible number of buoyant seeds, up to 50,000 pieces, which then remain germinable for up to ten years.

  1. The fight against the Herculean shrub should therefore be well planned: In order to master the unpleasant growth, it usually has to be combated consistently for several years in succession. For if a few seeds are forgotten on a previously suspected area, the gigantic bush will soon celebrate its resurrection happily. It is recommended that even smaller stocks be tackled immediately. They usually spread the fastest, but can be pushed back from the outside to the inside with a quick reaction. Consistent use can free even heavily affected areas, you only have to stay on the ball for several years. Especially important are the annual follow-up inspections in the spring, which is why you should note the individual plants on a map. In addition, the affected soil should be densely planted with strong, assertive plants, so that the seeds waiting in the ground never get enough light to germinate.

This is how you effectively counter bear claw

  1. The most important and most promising possibility of control is the separation of the vegetation cone. It's best to do this in the spring until about mid-May, when the plants are still low, fighting without skin contact is easier. The Giant Bear Claw has a root in classic beet form, from which you must cut off the top 15 to 20 cm below the ground to kill the plant. This upper vegetation cone is then disposed of in the trash, the root base rotted in the ground. The separation works well with a sharp, narrow spade, maybe with a pickaxe, but here can quickly splash sap through the area! If descendants show up, this strategy can be repeated until October, which also facilitates work next spring.

  1. In the spring overlooked, now large plants, the cutting out of the root is difficult.Especially if the inflorescences are already developed so far that the seeds would inevitably be distributed when cutting away the upper leaf mass, it is well worth considering whether the top of the perennial "falls" on an old tarpaulin, which then from the sides to the package packed and disposed of.

  1. Against the Herkulesstaude herbicides (weed killer) can be used with systemic effect. In these agents, the active ingredient is absorbed by the leaves and then fed to the root. Approved for use in home and garden are various agents with the active ingredient glyphosate, z. For example, the Roundup TurboPlus or Ultra plant protection products, which may only be used in the area of ​​the plants mentioned on the package. The use in addition to other plants requires a bit of tact: a few drops of glyphosate damage the neighboring plants. The giant bear claw is best treated chemically if it is between half a meter and one meter high, from the beginning of June it is usually too high (these leaf masses could not kill the weed killers), he would have to first (considering all the above precautions mentioned) are cut off.

Final tips
  1. However, the cut alone is never enough to fight the giant Bärenklau. Because the root remains in the soil, the assertive perennial plant is even able to form mostly unnoticed emergency flowers, which then also ensure the propagation.

  1. A campaign against the Herculean shrub should not be done alone, if possible. Contact your local plant protection agency: In many communities, state road construction offices are already tackling the Hercules shrub, and other crop protection products are also available to these organizations. Perhaps you agree on a combined approach with the commissioned companies of the community.

  1. Further information on handling the dangerous plant and detailed instructions on how to combat it can be found on these websites:, and
Art / Family:
Wild perennial. Belongs to the family of acanthaceae or acacia trees (Acanthacea)
July to September with 60-70 long upright flower clusters with white, purple or pink flowers with pinkish roofs. Buds are also pink. Blossoms are reminiscent of lupins
Large to 35cm long, deeply cut, prickly, dark green partly white-edged leaves with high ornamental value. Reminiscent of thistle leaves
Bushy upright stature with stolon formation
Height / Width:
90 to 100cm high, 60 to 75cm wide
Sunny to half shady warm. Light and permeable, but damp, normal garden soil, which should not be too nutrient-rich
At any time as long as the ground is not frozen. Can be sown directly in the field in spring
Cut back near the ground in spring
wild perennials
Share in the spring or multiply by root cuttings, bloom only in the following year
Water in prolonged drought. Fertilizing not necessary
Is grateful in harsh areas for winter protection of the rhizome. Container plants are more sensitive to cold than planted specimens
Comes from the Balkan Peninsula, but is now native to us and wild often found on forest edges
Is also suitable for the bucket
Leaves were immortalized on stone pillars by the ancient Greeks
Very poisonus
Good bee pasture
Inflorescences can be cut well for the vase; stable and long lasting. Also nice as dried flowers
Thorny acanthus (Acanthus spinosissimus)
Striking spiky green foliage white margined
Spiny acanthus (Acanthus spinosus)
Height 90-100cn, width 60-75cm. Flowers from high to late summer in white or purple

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