NY DEC Warns That Giant Hogweed Plant Could Cause Blisters, Blindness

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York State environmental officials are trying to nip a huge, dangerous plant in the bud.

The giant hogweed, a monster plant with flowers the size of umbrellas and sap that causes blisters and blindness, is spreading across New York. The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for help locating outbreaks.

The agency has set up a hotline at 845-256-3111 for people to call and report sightings of the invasive species. Callers are asked to provide photos and site information, but should avoid touching the plant.

This is DEC’s fourth year of controlling giant hogweed.

Six crews totaling 14 people will visit most of the 944 known giant hogweed sites. Sites with less than 400 plants will be controlled by hand cutting their roots; sites with more than 400 plants will be controlled with herbicide.

The plant has been spotted in Nassau and Putnam counties.

Have you seen the plant? Let us know below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Susan LaGrande

    This is no joke. See the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation web site (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/39809.html) for photos of the plant and its lookalikes. Scary stuff!

  • Po from Marlton

    Turn and run
    Nothing can stop them
    Around every river and canal their power is growing
    Stamp them out!
    We must destroy them,
    They infiltrate each city with their thick dark warning odour.
    They are invincible.
    They seem immune to all our herbicidal battering
    Long ago in the Russian hills,
    A Victorian explorer found the regal hogweed by a marsh
    He captured it and brought it home.
    Botanical creature stirs, seeking revenge.
    Royal beast did not forget.
    He came home to London,
    And made a present of the hogweed to the royal gardens at kew.
    Waste no time!
    They are approaching.
    Hurry now, we must protect ourselves and find some shelter
    Strike by night!
    They are defenseless,
    They all need to sun to photosensitize their venom.
    Still they’re invincible,
    Still they’re immune to all our herbicidal battering.
    Fashionable country gentlemen had some cultivated wide gardens,
    In which they innocently planted the giant hogweed throughout the land.
    Botanical creature stirs, seeking revenge.
    Royal beast did not forget.
    Soon they escaped, spreading their seed,
    Preparing for an onslaught, threatening the human race.
    [The dance of the giant hogweed]
    Mighty hogweed is avenged.
    Human bodies soon will know our anger.
    Kill them with your hogweed hairs
    Heracleum mantegazziani
    Giant hogweed lives

  • lulu

    I think my neighbors are cultivating it along side of the bamboo and poison zumac. The two neighbors are complicit and have a tacit agreement to destroy me. I have st up an altar to the Virgina Mary in the yard to ward off the those devils. Hail Mary Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, Blessed are thou among women and Blessed is the fruit of they womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinner s(and the two neighbors) now and at the hour of our death Amen. A couple of Novenas wouldn’t hurt, either! I also weed whack state owned property, a swathe of land that abuts MetroNorth and my property. The state should have a Weed Abatement Law it’s a nuisance.

  • Tom Garett

    Looks like the family’s going to have a “Day of the Triffids” AND a “Little Shop of Horrors” marathon over the next few days. Thanks for the memory jog!…@Fria, I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, PennyTop.c0m

  • Rev. Daniel W. Blair

    Sounds like another plague descending upon the world and especially NY for its gross immoral conduct. This is only the beginning. Take heed your judgment is coming. Posted by the author of Final Warning

    • KPMc

      At what point will you stop hoping for the end and start using the glorious gift god gave you.. LIFE!

      Picket any military funerals lately?

  • badman

    it’s NOT Queen Anne’s Lace. Strop talking about it.

  • fere

    The Happening

  • Hedley Lamar

    Global warming….

  • Had To Say It

    It’s all “Bush’s fault!

  • Libertas Maximus

    So, my other comment was sarcastic. Really.

    To make my point perfectly clear. This other plant, (cannabis, hemp, marijuana) you can eat it, the seeds contain life sustaining fatty acids, and you can use it for a zillion different things, yet you cannot grow it or possess it. There is absolutely no reason for (cannabis, hemp, marijuana) to be illegal. NO REASON!

  • Right Thinking

    Wasn’t it rather insensitive for the media to name and photograph the offender. Just because it is a invasive species doesn’t mean it should be singled out. They should learn some ethics from the people who write the flash mob stories.

    • sasbert

      You are correct Right Thinking, but I would go further, by stating that this invasive plant, merely came to the U.S. to have a better life and so that its offspring could flourish and grow up as native (American) plants.

    • david from DC

      Lol. I’m pretty liberal but I do agree with how ridiculous PC language control is. Call a spade a spade for god’s sake. I come to a news site to get the info and get out. Who did it, what characteristics do they have.. HMM.. gee I wonder what the easiest way to identify people is.. if only they had an organ that covered their whole body with a certain discernable pigment. If only they had eyes with unique colors, and unique facial structures derived from their genetics… HO HUM. Upholding a fake and ridiculous sense of condescending protectionism towards groups of people is the OPPOSITE of clear, concise journalism. I live and work in DC and have yet to meet a black person who was offended by media describing the characteristics of a black criminal. As they say, crime is colorblind.. bad people do bad things and so the justice system and media should reflect this as well.

      • badman

        david, I can’t believe someone so insensitive as you would be living in our nation’s capital, so close to the seats of power. “Hogweed” is a pejorative term that we will someday realize fanned the flames of hate. we need to STOP saying things like “flowers the size of umbrellas” and see them for what they are: institutionalized hate cultivated in the media by the Thurn and Taxis Postal Service and the Shriners.

      • Jaded Swine

        Sorry David, the crimes perpetrated by the government subsidized marauding youths were anything but color blind. Yet I digress. Let’s stick to the topic of this poor plant species that is finding so difficult to fit in and get along. Perhaps there’s a government program that can be created to assist the beleaguered hogweed!

  • Libertas Maximus

    It should be illegal. Anyone with this plant on their property or in their possession should go to prison. Go get ’em DEA!

  • Smitty

    I worked with someone who got permanent scars from the sap. It burns you if it touches your skin in sunshine.

  • MHRobson

    Has Bill Clinton tried to smoke this thing yet? Perhaps we should wait until he does so and reports back.

  • Dennis DePaulo

    Wisconsin if full of the plant. Actually picked some of the Hog Weed flowers and took them home and took a picture of the plant.

    The picture is on a address that was never fully developed at Mondovi Wi Biz picture pages. Is that the plant?

    We had no ill effects

    • caligirl1

      You’re probably thinking of Queen Anne’s lace flower that looks similar. Not the same however.

  • ewem

    There is an excellent website that compares the deadly giant hogweed from asia with other, less deadly, but still bad white flowering plants, Because the sap is deadly and could be rubbed into the eyes, it is worth everyone studying the looks of this plant I keep this webpage in my favorites:
    wally hansen’s native plant nursery, lacy flower page

    I am very sorry this plant is appearing in NY state – however, we may be lucky it is so large. If it were smaller, people would be less likely to notice it. Who would think you could get blind from a plant?

  • LaVonne Kelly

    I have some growing next to my house…I thought it was kinda pretty….

  • Scott
  • Dave

    Sites with FEWER than 400 plants …

  • Dave

    It’s a hoax! The hogweed is only found near Hogwarts.

  • Ben Dover

    It’s the fault of every evil SUV driver.

  • Jimmy

    Save the plants! Move all of the people that could be affected by it to San Francisco!

  • Mabel

    Why on earth wouldn’t this article have a picture of the plant??? It seems that a photo whole be rather helpful…..

    • Timmy

      Ummm… there is a picture.

      • Scudbuster

        Maybe she smoked it & can’t see it.

  • gary richter

    Most well known as wild parsnips in the midwest. Not the same as Queen Ann’s Lace.This stuff is larger, and not white flowered. The nasty dark blisters come when the contacted/affected skin is exposed to sunlight.

  • snake

    Causes blindness? Now we know why the people in NY vote the way they do, the plant has caused blindness to the real world.

  • The Hogweed Return!

    Background info? Listen to the Genesis song “Return of the Giant Hogweed” from the early 70’s. They tell how it got into England, just a short hp from there!

    • Fred

      I was hoping to leave a reference to the Genesis song, but you beat me to it. Heracleum Mantegazz!i

    • jim here

      you’re the man!! Just as Fred said , I was hoping to leave a reference to the Genesis song, but you beat me to it. Heracleum Mantegazz!i

      I’m in a basement prog cover band that is doing the final track on that album, The Fountain Of Salmacis

  • David Ramsden

    From the headline I thought they were talking about TRIFFIDS!

    • D Savageau

      Ramsden, you apparently are the only literate person on this chain. Day of the Triffids, a classic sc-fi novel from the 1950s, had space borne plants walking about stinging and blinding ordinary citizens.

      • ExSophus

        Actually, they trundled about on little wheels :)

  • L Smith

    Giant Hodweed has spread across the entire state already, There are very large patches of it EVERYWHERE around the capital district.

  • crmitchell

    Seems that if they really wanted peoeple to be watching for this, they would have included more photos, like maybe of the leaves. the overall plant, etc. Here, I’m left thnking Queen Anne’s Lace. The “giant plant” link takes me to a stinky plant ready to bloom at the U of Conn.

    Is this real reporting or just sensationalism ?

  • Doc

    This plant has been in upstate NY for at least 50 years and we”ve survived without government intervention to protect us from it.

    • ExSophus

      Ah yes! But you see…now we can SPEND MORE TAXPAYER MONEY to hire more people and buy more late model “reconnaissance” trucks and supervisor SUVs (which they can take home and use when “off duty” and long after the immediate “threat” is resolved).

  • Bill

    Another Divine judgment against a godless New England state!

    • MonsieurGeography

      Time to take a geography class. New York isn’t a part of New England.

      • CONNECTICUT SSN 042-68-4425

        Why does the number above belong to Barry? BirtherReport. com

      • Matt

        Maybe he is British, and considers America “New England”… I don’t know, but that is what I read. ;-)

    • Crikey

      THAT’S FUNNY, When New England WAS super Christy and godlike (Puritans) they burned women at the stake – I much prefer “godless” New England, pass me a lobstah roll!

      • knowhistory

        Nobody was burned at the stake in New England.

    • leon

      Oops! New York is not a New England state; it’s considered Middle Atlantic.

  • Alaskasfreedom

    The plant is called “Cow Parsnip” or “Wild Celery” Heracleum lanatum (Umbelliferae)
    Our Alaska roads and woods are full of it…stems are covered with tiny hairs that can be very irritating..the Natives here have many medicinal uses for it but be sure and do your research if you plan to use it for that!! The tourists stop along the roads and have their pics taken with it…It grows to 10 feet…how the heck can it survive in NY???? Google for more info…Good luck, Alaskasfreedom

  • scott feingoldstein

    wow thats a great full photo of the plant……..i’ll be sure not to be able to recognize it CBS news………COMPARE BBC NEWS TO CBS night and day

  • Paolo

    I believe the plant is of the genius liberolious, species demacratolious. This is a very common plant that is so vile it burns to the touch and omits toxic ooze that makes seeing logic, truth and reason impossible. It is a genetically engineered plant from the 60s that contaminated an entire generation. Many were immune but those infected now have government jobs, hold office in Washington and are recognized by their inability to be honest and productive.



  • V. Delamarter

    This looks like the Queen Anne’s Lace that we have in the West. I have never heard of any bad effects of it though. Of course the QAL is not a large plant like this one is.

    • sunlandrvguy

      Well 35 years or so ago in Ontario County in Western NY I was unfortunate enough to find this plant and chopped it down. Not knowing what it was I was badly blistered and had a rash that came and went for the next 12 years!!! It is not a joke, and a very very dangerous plant.

  • dookie

    Must be an illegal alien plant. Can we just go ahead and bomb Mexico into the stoneage (which appears to be just about a decade ago)?
    Don’t want this plant stealin’ my job!

    • rocketman

      Your not employable because you are an idiot. Oh, you can clean the bathrooms the Mexican workers use.

  • Audrey II

    Feed me, Seymour.

    • ExSophus

      Looks like the family’s going to have a “Day of the Triffids” AND a “Little Shop of Horrors” marathon over the next few days. Thanks for the memory jog!

  • David

    Send in the tree huggers to rescue them!

  • cjhsa

    Smoke it already!

  • S. Hackbarth

    TR paranoia; get help.

  • TR Bender

    What did anyone expect. The populice are told waht they can and cannot do and even if they have to let the plant live by the green Nazi’s.
    The country is run by a bunch of idiots from Moscow on the Potomac and they send out the domestic terrorist EPA to do nothing.
    Did the greenies consider to find out if this plant is native and if not, then from what country ?
    I’m sorry, our poliburo does not mind destroying the States as long as they don’t offend criminals !

    • AnnR

      It is not native. Was imported by some “idiot” who thought it would be an ornamental.

  • Alan Whitney


    So, from where did it invade?

    Doesn’t ANYBODY report anymore?

    • Patty Dukely

      Giant hogweed is a perennial member of the Parsley or Carrot Family native to Asia

  • tammy mansell

    we have a plant here in Alabama called queen anne’s lace looks just like it but a lot smaller then you discribed.

    • JoAnne

      I thought of Queen Anne’s Lace, too.

      • Swiss

        Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as “wild carrot.” It is the plant from which the common carrot that we find in supermarkets was derived (true). Hmmm. So, you think this might be a giant Killer Karrot?

      • Melissa Doyle

        It’s either queen’s anne’s lace or elderberries in bloom AND NIETHER ARE HARMFUL. In fact elderberries have many many medicinal purposes!

  • Tom

    Kinda’ like socialist democrats…..

    • nathan

      Yes thats relevant. Fool.

  • Bob Hahn

    Day of the Triffids

    • Tom Davidson

      Loved the book; hated the movie.
      If the giant hogweed learns to walk, I’m moving to an island.

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