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Giant Hogweed

Heracleum mantegazzianum Sommier & Levier
Giant Hogweed Giant Hogweed
Terry English, USDA APHIS PPQ

 

Commodities Affected:
Forestry and Natural Areas, Miscellaneous and Human Health

 

Threat:

Giant hogweed is a tall (up to 15-20 feet in height), herbaceous, biennial plant that invades disturbed areas across both the Northeast and Pacific Northwestern United States. Giant hogweed is designated as a federal noxious weed because the sap it produces can cause skin sensitivity to UV radiation, leading to blistering and severe burns. Giant hogweed can invade a variety of habitats but prefers moist disturbed soils such as riverbanks, ditches, and railroad right-of-ways. Giant hogweed is native to Europe and Asia. It was first introduced into the United States in 1917 for ornamental purposes.

 

Distribution:

In 2004, giant hogweed was found near Warsaw, Indiana (Kosciusko County). In 2006, giant hogweed was found near Lakeville (St. Joseph County). Eradication of both giant hogweed sites is ongoing.