Officials issue warning over invasive plant that can cause severe burns, blindness

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) is warning the public to remain vigilant and report sitings of Giant Hogweed locations.

Officials say they are making progress to eradicate the large, invasive, and dangerous plant.

Giant Hogweed is known to cause severe skin and eye irritation, including temporary or permanent blindness. Reactions occur when skin is exposed to the plant’s sap and becomes more sensitive to UV radiation.

Over the years, officials say the DEC and its regional partners have confirmed 2,484 Giant Hogweed sites in 51 counties. Most of the active sites are currently concentrated across Central and Western New York.

If you find a Giant Hogweed, do not touch the plant, take photos of the entire plant (stem, leaves, flower, seeds), note the location, and send a report with the information to ghogweed@dec.ny.gov, text to (518)-320-0309, or call the information line at (845)-256-3111.

If confirmed, the DEC says it will contact the landowner to discuss control options.

For more information about giant hogweed, including eradication efforts, plant ID, or to view the 2018 Annual Report, visit DEC’s website.

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