‘Horror Plant’ That Causes Blindness, Burns Found in Southern Tier
The internet has been taken by storm with warnings about the Giant hogweed. The hogweed, known as Heracleum mantegazzianum, can cause a plethora of health problems.
When the sap of this plant mixes with moisture and sunlight it can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful scarring and blistering, and in severe cases: blindness.
In short: do not touch this plant.
The plant damages the skins ability to defends itself from the sun causing severe sunburn.
The Giant hogweed can grow to be over 14-feet high and is recognizable by its white flowers and its stem that has red and purple blotches. Find pictures of this plant and how to identify it here.
The 2017 map of the Giant Hogweed Elimination program has Binghamton and Boome County shown as a site where "no giant hogweed plants were found during the latest yearly monitoring visit." This means plants were discovered in the area and were eventually destroyed.
The 2018 map of the Giant Hogweed Control Program shows a few active sites in Broome County and Binghamton. These sites currently have less than 400 Giant hogweed plants, according to the DEC.
If you think you have found a Giant hogweed, do the following:
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: Email 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.