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What to do if you see dangerous hogweed

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Its appearance is pretty unique.

“Maximum growth, they can get 10 to 15 feet tall. So, they’re going to be much taller than most of the plants in your landscape. They have very large deeply pointed leaves,” Donna Ellis, Senior Extension Educator at UConn said. 

While this flowering weed looks pretty, giant hogweed can be extremely dangerous, according to Ellis.

If you become exposed to clear sap in the plant, and this plant does have a clear sap in the stems and leaves, within a day or two, your skin may appear to have a sunburned appearance to it. Then, over the course of time, it can actually darken the pigment of your skin, and that can last for several years.

They can be found anywhere in your yard, and although the last new sighting wasn’t in Connecticut since 2011, that does not mean it won’t pop up again soon.

It’s been in New York and Pennsylvania for many years. We have it throughout New England, not well established, but there are reports from all of the New England states.

If you think you have encountered this plant, contact the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group immediately through their website to report a sighting. On the site, you’ll find tips on removing the weed, but be careful how you remove it!

Most importantly, we recommend that you cover up. You have to avoid any kind of contact with the plant. So, you want to wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, footwear and so on.

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