The picture above is Giant Hogweed, you may think it’s pretty but this is not something you want in your yard. This plant is on the federal noxious weed list making it unlawful to propogate, sell, or transport. Why? It will crowd out native plants but that’s not the worst part, this plant is a human health hazard. The sap from this plant causes awful burns, much worse than poison ivy. If you get the sap in your eyes it can cause temporary or even permanent blindness.
In the early 1800′s immigrants from Eurasia introduced giant hogweed into the United States and in the early 1900′s the plant was sold as a landscape plant.
Giant Hogweed can be identified by its large white flowers which bloom in June and July, large, deeply incised leaves, and prominent white hairs and purple blotches on its stems. It can grow to a height of 15 feet and the stem, which is hollow, measures between 2 to 4 inches.
In Wisconsin giant hogweed has been found mostly in the north east, closer to the U.P. but since it’s now been found in Illinois it makes me wonder if it might be in the south eastern part of the state as well.
If you think you may have giant hogweed growing in your area of Wisconsin don’t try to remove it yourself. This is very important! In Michigan they actually use haz-mat suits to remove it. Call your local invasive species department or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Here is the link to the Wisconsin DNR Invasive Species page which has the phone numbers of the people to contact regarding invasive species.
Here is a good video about the giant hogweed…
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