About 60 species mainly in the mountains of Europe, Asia and North America. 34 species in the FSU, mainly in the Caucasus, also in Siberia, Central Asia and the Far East. The genus was named after Hercules (Heracles), the most famous Greek mythological hero, who was a man of great physical power. Most species are very tall perennials or biennials. Many have sap, that is extremely irritant and harm.