Giant Hogweed in Connecticut
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Umbel inflorescence of giant hogweed
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), an invasive, non-native plant that was confirmed in 2001 as a new state record in West Cornwall, Litchfield County, Connecticut continues to persist in 2005. The site of this Federal Noxious Weed was found by Elizabeth Corrigan, a botanist and Co-Chair of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group, during a survey funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Connecticut. Educational outreach is underway to alert the public about Giant Hogweed, its serious health hazards, and provide control options.
Giant hogweed leaf
Giant hogweed is a biennial or perennial herbaceous plant that reaches up to 15 feet in height. Leaves grow up to 5 feet wide. The hollow stems of the plant are 2 to 4 inches in diameter. Large numbers of small white flowers are borne on the umbel-shaped inflorescence that extends 2.5 feet across the top. The many seeds produced by each plant can remain viable in the soil for up to seven years.
The sap of giant hogweed, a poisonous plant, causes large painful blisters on human skin and acts as an anti-sunscreen. Eye contact may result in blindness. Giant hogweed has negative impacts to the environment as well, displacing native flora on riverbanks and in disturbed sites such as waste areas and along railroads.
Giant hogweed in Connecticut
Giant hogweed plants can
grow up to 15 feet in height