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Giant Hogweed Plant

Giant hogweed flower plant

Heracleum Mantegazziamum

Move over Poison Ivy, there's a new noxious weed in town... rather it's in the parks, trails and forests that you hike. It's the Giant Hogweed. It is noxious, invasive and dangerous. This toxic plant is spreading across many states.

If you spot what you think is a Giant Hogweed plant, there are two things you should do. First, steer clear of it. Whatever your do, do not touch it! Second, immediately report it to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), or your local authorities. They will come out wearing hazmat suits and remove it.

Giant Hogweed is a short lived perennial that is native to the Caucasus region of Asia and Europe. You may be surprised to learn that this plant is a member of the carrot family. In the early 1900s, it was imported into the United States as an ornamental plant. Some people still grow them as ornamentals, despite the risk to their health. The plant is spread via birds and waterways. Because seeds need exposure to cold weather to germinate, they are less likely to spread to the hot, southern areas of the U.S.

Giant Hogweed plants prefer moist to wet soils. high in organic matter, and full to partial sun. Seeds and plants do not survive in waterlogged soils.

Plant Identification:

giant hogweed plant identification

Giant Hogweed grow s up to 14 feet. It has a thick, hairy, green stem, covered with purple blotches. The hairs on the stem are white. The plant has huge leaves, larger that your hand, which shade out other local vegetation. The flowers are white and sometimes pinkish in color. They are found in parks, open areas, fields, and forests.

Giant Hogweed Danger:

The clear, watery sap of the Giant Hogweed is toxic. The toxin is called "furanocoumain". Contact with your skin causes sensitivity to UV radiation, losing the ability to protect the skin from the sun. This results in burns, blisters, and scars. Contact with the eyes can cause blindness. In severe exposure, hospitalization may be required.

Plant Reproduction:

Plants reproduce from seed..Each plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. The seeds need winter cold or cold stratification to germinate.

The plants can also be propagated by the buds from the tuberous root stalk.

Did You Know? Even weeds get their day! See Weed Appreciation Day.



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