ALBANY, N.Y. – A dangerous, invasive plant is currently in bloom in New York.
For the last 100 years, the Giant Hogweed has been growing in New York. But the invasive plant is more than a nuisance. It’s toxic and highly dangerous.
“It’s one of the most noxious weeds in terms of dangerous, physically harming a person,” Robert Davies with the DEC said.
The Giant Hogweed can grow to be 15 feet tall with stems covered in coarse hairs and topped with a cluster of white flowers. They can grow almost anywhere and look like a Queen Anne’s Lace.
“Except this plant is on steroids,” Davies said.
The DEC is urging New Yorkers to stay away from the Giant Hogweed.
“If you touch it and you get the sap on your skin, that combined with sunlight, can cause very, very serious burns and even blindness if you rub your eyes or it gets in your eyes,” Davies explained.
The Giant Hogweed is not indigenous to New York, and the DEC believes it first arrived to be a part of someone’s garden.
“Because it’s so attractive somebody wanted it for their garden about 100 years ago,” Davies said. “The early 1900s it was first discovered here in New York probably as a garden ornamental plant.”
There are some treatments if a person comes in contact with the plant, though burns can last for months and even years.
If you think you have seen a Giant Hogweed, contact the DEC immediately, here.