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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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