Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a federally listed noxious weed, as well as a phototoxic one. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring, and if it comes in contact with the eyes, severe irritation and possible blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.
What does it look like?
It is a biennial or perennial herb in the carrot family (Apiaceae) which can grow to 14 feet or more. It has hollow, rigid stems that grow 2-4 inches in diameter and dark reddish-purple blotches. The large compound leaves can grow up to 5 feet wide while it’s white flower heads can grow up to 2 ½ feet in diameter. Please use this link for identification, as some other plants look very similar.
What do I do if I come in contact with it?
Immediately wash the affected area with soap and water and keep the area away from sunlight for 48 hours. It is also recommended that you contact your physician if you think you have been burned by Giant Hogweed.
What do I do if I see Giant Hogweed?
Identify: Use the key on our Giant Hogweed identification page to try and make a positive identification. Other plants that look similar are also shown.
Photograph: Photos are needed to confirm identification. Take high resolution photos of the entire plant, stem, leaves, flowers and seeds, making sure to keep a safe distance.
Report: Contact DEC or call the Giant Hogweed Hotline: 1-845-256-3111. Provide photos, detailed directions to the plant infestation and estimate the number of plants.
Control: If Giant Hogweed is confirmed, DEC will contact the landowner and may visit to assess the site and discuss management options, as resources allow.