Giant Hogweed: The Plant That Just Won't Quit
Giant Hogweed is not the plant you want to mess with if you find on your property.
This seemingly harmless plant can leave burns on your skin, or even leave you blind. The plant has a sap where if it comes in contact with your skin then exposed to light it could cause severe burns or bad blisters; this is called “photoreactive”. The sap could even cause temporary or permanent blindness.
The Hogweed likes to live in undisturbed areas, where there is a lot of sunlight. And being a perennial, it likes to make its reappearance every spring. If you do find it on your property, it can be harmful to children and pets as they would likely be unaware of it’s harmful nature. Other than having white lace like flowers on the top, the base is quite distinguishable with a red prickly spine. Nature made it look like that so you wouldn’t want to touch it.
How To Get Rid Of It?
It’s fairly simple. Wear some gloves and possibly eye protection, and make sure you dig out the roots as they could go down 10cm. It’s best to either toss it in your garbage. The seedlings can germinate for up to 15 years, so it’s not a good idea to put it in your compost. You can read more about how to deal with the invasive species from Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program.