Giant hogweed is a poisonous plant that's taking over CNY. It's popping up everywhere, and you must know what it looks like and what to do if you come into contact with it so you can protect yourself and your family.

DEC

The Horror Plant looks like Queen Anne’s Lace with an attitude. Do not touch the Heracleum mantegazzianum or also know as the Horror Plant as it's a very dangerous, vast, invasive plant that can make a case of poison ivy seem like a mild itch.

DEC

The first signs of giant hogweed-caused photodermatitis are when the skin turns red and starts itching. Within 24 hours, burn-like lesions form, followed by large, fluid-filled blisters within 48 hours. The initial irritation usually will subside within a few days, but affected areas may remain hypersensitive to ultraviolet light for many years, and re-eruptions of lesions and blisters may occur. On rare occasions, particularly in susceptible individuals, the burns and blisters may be bad enough to require hospitalization.

DEC

A side effect of exposure to the psoralens is the production of excessive amounts of melanin in the skin, resulting in residual brown blotches called hyper-pigmentation that may last for several years. The worst risk of exposure to giant hogweed is to one's eyes - getting even minute amounts of the sap in the eyes can result in temporary or even permanent blindness. Medical help should be sought immediately; by the time symptoms of burning and hypersensitivity to sunlight are apparent, the damage could already be irreversible.

DEC

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has several fact sheets, posters, surveys, and articles on giant hogweed. We found the brochure by Charles R. O’Neill, Jr. extremely informative.

O'Neill reminds us of the giant hogweed getting immortalized in a song in 1971 by Genesis titled “The Return of the Giant Hogweed” off their album “Nursery Cryme.”

“Turn and run! Nothing can stop them,
Around every river and canal their power is growing.
Stamp them out! We must destroy them,
They infiltrate each city with their thick dark warning odor.
Waste no time! They are approaching.
Hurry now, we must protect ourselves and find some shelter
Strike by night! They are defenseless.
They all need the sun to photosensitize their venom.
They are invincible, They seem immune to all our herbicidal battering.”

For much more information visit the Department of Conservation Website.