Toxic Plant Spreads Across New York State

07.06.11 | Sarah Harnisch

The giant hogweed is an invasive species, and the Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for help locating outbreaks so they can send crews to nip it in the bud. The agency has set up a giant hogweed line for people to call and report their sightings. Callers are being asked to provide photos and site information but avoid touching the plant. This is the D.E.C.'s fourth year controlling giant hogweed, which has thick stems and flowers that the size of unbrellas, can grow to be 15 feet or more. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irriation as well as painful blistering, permanent scarring and even blindness.

To see a picture of giant hogweed, click here.