May 30, 2012 No Comments
There are many invasive species that can threaten the native plants in your garden, but probably one of the best publicized is Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). The notoriety is due to its tremendous height and the dangers from its sap which has created plenty of public attention.
Giant Hogweed has two major negative impacts. Firstly, due to its invasive nature, it poses a threat to native biodiversity. Secondly, Giant Hogweed is a public health hazard. It produces a noxious sap that sensitizes the skin to ultraviolet light. This is known as photosensitivity, which can result in severe and painful burning and blistering. It is important to avoid any skin contact with this plant.
If you have seen Giant Hogweed on your property, then now is the time to investigate, see if any small hogweed plants are coming up, and take steps to control or eradicate them. Late in the summer, when Giant Hogweed is a giant plant with big white flowers, it is easy to spot, but that is not necessarily the ideal time to try and control it. In fact, you could be putting yourself at significant risk, from the sap in the plant’s stem and leaves. Right now in the spring, when the plants are just starting to grow, is the best time to try and control it, and prevent it from producing seeds.