Giant hogweed has been in the news a lot lately due to its devastating effects on humans who have inadvertently and unfortunately come in contact with it, most recently in Virginia. This plant's range is mainly in New England, a few Mid Atlantic states and the Pacific Northwest. The sap from giant hogweed, when it comes in contact with the skin and is then exposed to sunlight, can cause severe burns and scarring. It will then leave skin sensitive to sunlight for many years. If the sap gets into your eyes, it can cause temporary or permanent blindness.
Naturedigger's Rash Plants app will be including giant hogweed in our next update this fall with dozens of photos and annotated images that will help you identify this plant either by it's massive flower (umbel) in the summer or its leaves, stems or dried canes, so you will easily recognize it and steer clear of it. If you should find it on your property, contact someone experienced with removal of dangerous plants. NEVER remove this plant yourself. The slide show shows Mike Bald of Got Weeds (Vermont) and his field assistant, Nate Stratton with giant hogweed. Mike and Nate are experienced in dangerous plant removal and/or management. They are covered and wash immediately after touching any part of the plant. Below is a sample of images you will find in the Rash Plants app this fall.