Giant hogweed plants are now blooming across many parts of the state, making it a prime time to spot this harmful invasive. Giant hogweed is a large plant from Eurasia with sap that can cause painful burns and scarring.
Adult giant hogweed plants tend to be 7-14 feet tall with umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers up to 2.5 feet wide. The stem is green with purple splotches and coarse white hairs, and leaves are large (up to 5 feet across), incised, and deeply lobed. You can find more identification tips, including a table of lookalikes, on our website.
If you think you have found giant hogweed, do not touch it. From a safe distance, take photos of the plant’s stem, leaves, flower, seeds, and the whole plant. Then report your sighting to DEC by emailing photos and location information to [email protected] or calling (845) 256-3111. DEC staff will confirm if it is giant hogweed and discuss plans for management if it is a site not yet being managed by DEC.
DEC recently hosted a Facebook Live about giant hogweed identification, look-alikes, and how to report findings. You can view the recording on our Facebook page.
Photo: Adult giant hogweed plants are very tall and have white, umbrella-shaped flower clusters and stems with purple splotches.
Beware of Wild Parsnip Too
Wild parsnip is an invasive plant with sap that can also cause burns on skin. It can grow in a variety of habitats but is commonly found growing in fields and along roadsides. Wild parsnip can be identified by its:
- yellow, umbel-shaped flowers,
- smooth, hairless, ribbed stem, and
- leaves that resemble celery leaves.
DEC does not manage wild parsnip. If you are looking to safely remove it from your property, please be sure to wear long sleeves and pants as well as gloves and avoid any contact with the sap of the plant when working. You can find more information on this invasive plant, including how to safely remove it, on our website.
Photo: Invasive wild parsnip plants have yellow, umbel-shaped flowers.