Officials Try to Eliminate Giant ‘Horror Plant’ in Hudson Valley
A "giant horror plant" that can cause blindness and severe burns is still in the local area, despite the best efforts from the DEC.
The Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, is found all over New York State, including in the Hudson Valley, according to the DEC.
The plant, which Science Alert calls a "giant horror plant," is a federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, when mixed with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and even blindness, according to the DEC.
The map below shows the current confirmed locations of giant hogweed sites in New York State in 2018.
The plant's sap prevents your skin from protecting itself from sunlight which leads to a very bad sunburn. Heat and moisture worsen your skin's reaction. Pain can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact.
A Giant Hogweed plant can grow up to 14 feet or taller, according to the DEC. Its hollow, ridged stems grow 2-4 inches in diameter and have dark reddish-purple blotches. Its white flower heads can grow over 2.5 feet in diameter.
According to the DEC, their "Giant Hogweed Program," is making progress. 2,253 infested have been managed.
"Of those, 406 sites are being monitored and now have no hogweed plants, and 498 sites have been declared eradicated," the DEC wrote in a recent Facebook post. Take that, hogweed!
Below is a photo of Giant Hogweed sites that the DEC has eliminated.
The plant grows along streams, rivers, fields, forests, yards and roadsides. It likes open sites with lots of light and moist soil but it can grow in shaded areas.
"Do Not Touch This Plant," the DEC warns on its website.