Perennial to 4-6 m tall. Has stout dark-reddish-purple stems, and spotted leaf stalks with sturdy pustulate bristles with a toxic sap. Stems and stalks hollow, stems 5-10 cm diameter. Large leaves (up to 1.5 m) and tuberous root stalks. Large umbrella-like clusters of greenish-white flowers.
It usually grows on the banks of rivers or creeks and gardens.
Out competes and replaces native plants. Very poisonous to humans. Touching it, or exposure to dust from weed-eating, can irritate skin and cause blisters and swelling. The toxin causes photosensitisation- skin reacts badly to sunlight.
1. Plants may be dug-out, care should be taken to remove the majority of the root stalk to prevent regrowth.
Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.