They say the plant can burn, scar, and even blind you - but what exactly is it and how can you avoid it? The Nature Conservancy of Canada is urging Canadians to document sightings of the giant hogweed plant which it says can pose a serious health hazard for … Giant hogweed - a dangerous, invasive weed - recently began spreading across New York, sparking fear and warnings from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. Compresses soaked in an aluminum acetate mixture - available at pharmacies - can provide relief for skin irritations. Call a doctor if you're experiencing a severe reaction. It's part of the carrot family, but it can grow up to 14 feet tall. It can be a threat to health due to its phototoxic sap, and so should be avoided, especially from contact with bare skin. Plants can grow as high as two to five and a half metres (15 to 18 feet). It grows to 60–170 cm (24–67 in) and also has clusters of white flowers in umbels. A member of the carrot and parsley family of plants (Apiaceae), giant hogweed is native to the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Virginia Tech researchers who helped identify the dangerous Giant Hogweed plants in Clarke County, Virginia, want residents to stay on the lookout for the plant with toxic sap that can cause severe burns — but also stressed that the weeds are believed to have been planted intentionally decades ago and haven’t spread in the years since. The N.Y. Department of Health recommends that you wash it off with cold water immediately and get out of the sun. Wild parsnip is an invasive plant native to Europe and Asia. The light-sensitive skin reaction causes dark painful blisters that form within 48 hours, and result in scars that can last anywhere from a few months to six years. Flowering heads are densely packed with tiny flowers and up to 2 feet across. Read more about cookies here. This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. If you live near giant hogweed you can mow or weed-whack the plant before you touch it to prevent future exposure, right? Think again. That will just send up new growth and potentially expose you to toxic sap. Giant hogweed can grow from 7 to 15 feet in height. What to do if you come in contact with giant hogweed. Please try again. Where is it found? It was likely introduced to North America as an ornamental garden plant. A welcome email is on its way. There is evidence that giant hogweed can shade out native plants, although scientists have not done extensive research on its impact in Ontario or Canada. 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Because of its unique size and impressive flower head, the plant was originally introduced to Great Britain as an ornamental curiosity in the 19th century. Figure 2. town hall, post office, schools and library). Email DEC or call the Giant Hogweed Information Line at 845-256-3111 to let us know how many brochures and posters you can use. It has thick hollow stems and large lobed leaves. However, it is now widespread throughout the British Isles. The leaves are very different to giant hogweed - they are tripinnate (the leaflets are themselves divided and then these divisions are divided again). How to identify giant hogweed: Giant hogweed certainly lives up to its name, growing 3 to 4 metres … Similar impacts may occur in Ontario. Giant hogweed had been spotted in Quebec, in the atlantic provinces and in Ontario and British-Colombia, notably in urban centers such as Toronto and Ottawa. Giant hogweed, or Heracleum mantegazzianum is considered a noxious weed by the federal government. 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