Giant hogweed plants are now blooming across many parts of the state, making it a prime time to spot this harmful invasive species. Giant hogweed is a large plant with sap that can cause painful burns and scarring.
Adult giant hogweed plants tend to be 7-14 feet tall with umbrella-shaped clusters 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.
You can find more identification tips, including a table of 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 confirm if it is giant hogweed and discuss plans for management if it is a site not yet being managed by DEC.
DEC recently hosted a Facebook Live about giant hogweed identification, look-alikes, and how to report findings. You can view the recording on DEC’s Facebook page.
Photo of Adult giant hogweed plant provided.