Giant Hogweed – Steer Clear!

Giant Hogweed – Steer Clear!

Spending any time out in the woods this summer?  Keep an eye out for the usual hazards (poison ivy, poison oak, bears, angry moose etc…), but add this one to your list: Giant Hogweed.  Its found in some parts of North America and resembles Queen Anne’s Lace (those little white lacey flowers you see at the beach and out in open fields). The big difference between Queen Anne’s Lace and Giant Hogweed is that Giant Hogweed is, well, giant.  it can grow up to fourteen feet tall.

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If you are this close, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE

 

Why avoid this particular plant?  It’s actually quite dangerous.  It’s sap can cause some significant irritation, blistering and even scarring when its exposed to sunlight.

**If you happen to come in contact with sap from the Giant Hogweed, you should wash immediately with soap and water and keep out of the sun for at least 48 hours.**

Also make sure that if you suspect that you have touched the sap, do not touch your eyes.  It has been reported that the irritation caused to your eye could (and has) caused permanent blindness in some unfortunate folks.

 

How do you identify Giant Hogweed?

keep an eye out for the white flowers that grow at the top:

hogweed giant

Looks similar to an extra-large Queen Anne’s Lace

 

And its distinctive leaves:

hogweed_1_jpg

even the leaf itself screams “DON’T TOUCH ME’

 

Here is a great link to some identification methods from the website of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/72766.html

 

 

If you happen to see any in your travels, DO NOT TOUCH IT.

Any instances of Giant Hogweed growing should be reported to local authorities (Fish and Game, Park Rangers, etc…)

 

Finally, here is a map of North America showing which areas are known to have Giant Hogweed:

hogweed map

If you live in any of these areas, or know someone who does, please pass word along to them so they are made aware.

 

Thanks everyone!  Enjoy the weather, and BE SAFE!

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