Giant Hogweed Makes Hay Fever Seem Like a DREAM

Lindsay Mannering

giant hogweed
Yikes! Giant hogweed!
Murder. Pigeons. Subway tracks. Too many pieces of pizza. I've been convinced for a while that I'll die here in NYC of one of those causes, but now I've gotta add something else to the list: GIANT HOGWEED. It's on the loose, it's coming for us, and there's little we can do to stop it. Not familiar with this flesh-eating plant that causes blindness? I wasn't informed either, but I've read up on this allergen and have some bad news: The sizzling you hear isn't coming from the taco truck downstairs, it's coming from your arm. Bam! You've been giant-hogweeded.

The giant hogweed is a ... giant ... hogweed ... that grows to be around seven feet tall (sometimes 23 feet tall!) and produces noxious fluids that can cause third-degree burns and permanent loss of eyesight. It's no picnic. It's no walk in the park. Giant hogweed is real and it's preparing for world domination.

Well world, no, but New York state, YES. From Lake Erie to Long Island, the giant hogweed is concentrated in the northeast and is making a play for New York City. The New York State Department of Environmental Conversation has set up a hot line for anyone who has info that could lead to the capture or death of the killer weed (1-800-554-4501 x 58760).

The good news is that it's not likely the giant hogweed will sneak up on you -- I mean, it's a huge plant with big billowy white flowers that look like cauliflower. Safest thing to do is if you see it, run far far away. Oh, and call the hot line.

There have been over 1,000 giant hogweeds reported since last year and the DEC has put a 14-man crew on the lookout for the crazy plant. If you see something, say something.


I don't know about anyone else, but all I can picture is that scene from Jurassic Park when Nedry was sprayed in the face by a Dilophosaur. Granted the giant hogweed isn't hiding in the bushes, looking all cute, waiting to pounce on us and spit blinding venom into our faces, but this poisonous giant weed is scary nonetheless.

Great. Now my eyes are burning.

What do you think of the giant hogweed?

Photos via debs-eye/Flickr, YouTube

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