Giant hogweed is a large flowering perennial, a member of the carrot family. This noxious weed can grow to over 14 feet. It is a fast growing invasive plant that is in several areas on Long Island. They include: East Norwich and Sea Cliff in Nassau and Riverhead, East Hampton, Southampton, Brookhaven and Yaphank in Suffolk.
Do not touch this plant! If you do it can cause burns, skin blistering and even blindness. Its sap contains glucosides that react with the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Its stem spotted with purple sap can cause what feels like a blistering burn that can take months to fade and will make you forever sensitive to the sun.
Immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and keep the area away from sunlight for 48 hours. This plant poses a serious health threat; see your physician if you think you have been burned by giant hogweed. If you think you have giant hogweed on your property, do NOT touch it.
To control it from spreading flower heads can be cut off to prevent sowing of seeds. The chemical glyphosate (Roundup) is effective in controlling hogweed. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide and will kill any adjacent plants that it comes in contact with.
What to do if you see giant hogweed:
Identify: Use the key on our hogweed identification page to try and make a positive identification. Other plants that look similar are also shown.
Photograph: Photos are needed to confirm identification. Take high resolution photos of the entire plant, stem, leaves, flowers and seeds, making sure to keep a safe distance.
Report: Email DEC or call the Giant Hogweed Hotline: 1-845-256-3111. Provide photos, detailed directions to the plant infestation and estimate the number of plants.
Control: If giant hogweed is confirmed, DEC will contact the landowner and may visit to assess the site and discuss management options, as resources allow.