Giant hogweed plants are beginning to bloom across many parts of the state, making it a prime time to spot this harmful invasive. Giant hogweed is a large, flowering plant from Eurasia with sap that can cause painful burns and scarring.
Adult giant hogweed plants tend to be 7-14 feet tall with an umbrella-shaped cluster of white flowers up to 2.5 feet wide. The stem is green with purple splotches and coarse white hairs, and leaves are large (up to 5 feet across), incised, and deeply lobed.
The most common lookalike found in NY is our native cow parsnip, which flowers earlier and does not have the purple splotches on the stem (but can also cause burns). You can find more identification tips, including a table of other lookalikes, on DEC’s website.
If you think you have found giant hogweed, do not touch it. From a safe distance, take photos of the plant’s stem, leaves, flower, seeds, and the whole plant. Then report your sighting to DEC by emailing photos and location information to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (845) 256-3111. DEC staff will help you confirm if it is giant hogweed and provide you with information on how to control it.
Photo of Adult giant hogweed plants are very tall, have white, umbrella-shaped flower clusters, and stems with purple splotches provided.