Experts Warn of Invasive Plant That Can Damage Human Skin

Experts are warning Connecticut residents to be on the lookout for an invasive plant that can cause skin sensitivities and blisters if touched.

University of Connecticut scientists and the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group issued a warning about giant hogweed, an invasive plant that was first spotted in Connecticut in 2001. 

Giant hogweed can grow up to 15 feet tall with leaves 5 feet long and has a thick, hollow stem. The plant generally blooms in July and has small white flowers that grow in clusters that can be up to 2.5 feet across. Experts say the plant’s sap can cause skin to be sensitive to sun, and can cause blisters.

Experts warn that you should always wear protective gear when handling these plants.

The seeds are elliptical and can survive in the ground for up to seven years. Giant hogweed can overtake native plants and upset balance in areas like riverbeds and woodland edges.

Giant hogweed has been reported in 25 towns in all eight counties over the years. The most recent confirmed reports were in 2011, but there have been recent reports of suspected giant hogweed plants.

UConn said cow parsnip, a plant native to Connecticut, is often mistaken for giant hogweed. There have been multiple reports of giant hogweed in Connecticut this year, but so far all those reports have been negative.

For more information or to report a giant hogweed sighting, click here. 

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