Saturday, August 14, 2021

Watch for Giant Hogweed, Wild Parsnips

hogweedGiant 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.

wild parsnipBeware 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.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

5 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Just as important – watch out for the giant hogs!

    I found some wild parsnip along the road on my property this spring – about 5 plants. It wasn’t flowering yet, but the foliage looked odd so I looked it up. I hit it with some weed-killer and it took it down pretty quickly. We’ll see if it comes back next year.

    • nathan says:

      2,4,d works well, dosing before seeds. it is commonly spread along roads by seeds blown from hay bales…i,ve been fighting for 10 years, so far ive managed to keep it from spreaading from roadfront into fields. brush hogging or mowing down begore flowers bloom works, but roots regrow, i dose individual plants with 2,4,d or glyphosphate. it will never be gone, to invasive along roads and fields everywhere.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    ” I hit it with some weed-killer and it took it down pretty quickly…..”

    You’d come down pretty quick too if you were dosed with weed killer Boreas. It ought to be against the law but why stop the war now! I am not for sure if this would work for wild parsnip or whatever invasive we’re up against at whatever interval…but this I do know! Am not for sure, but I think it was knotweed which was overwhelming a patch of hemlocks and hardwoods near where I live a few years ago. It was on library property and it had been free to ‘creep’ for years I’m assuming. I took it upon me to start snipping away at their vines as low as I could to the ground to be rid of them. It was work! Some of these vines were long and it took some doing to pull them out of the canopies of the trees. I did as best I could and after doing so they had the urge to come back, I would see them reaching out from other parts of the root, or low bark, where I snipped them off………….. I called NY State and was told by one of their employees at DEC about what I was doing and he came off like I was up against a monster, but did tell me that what I could do is keep at them and eventually they ‘might’ exhaust themselves out and wouldn’t you know……here it is a few years later and I have yet to see them come back. It worked! Them NY State DEC people know what they’re doing I must say.

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