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Warning – Giant Hogweed in the West River Area

GH – Flower, Leaf, Stem and Branching Expand Image
GH – Flower, Leaf, Stem and Branching
Giant hogweed has recently been identified in the West River municipality by the Invasive Species Council. Giant hogweed is a noxious invasive species with sap that is phototoxic. When exposed to light the sap can cause severe burns on human skin and significant eye damage. Two sites were identified in the area and the landowners are taking steps to manage the plants on their property. However, additional locations are suspected to be present in the community and the Invasive Species Council is appealing for residents to get in touch if they suspect giant hogweed on their property.

This species can easily be confused with native cow parsnip. Giant hogweed spreads easily and can establish along roadsides, ditches, and streams. Giant hogweed has a thick bright green stem (3-8 cm in diameter) with dark reddish-purple spots and coarse white hairs at the base of the leaf stock. The plant can be 2-5.5 m tall with broad leaves that are deeply-lobed and serrated. From late spring to mid-summer, giant hogweed produces a large upside-down umbrella-shaped head, up to 80 cm across, with clusters of tiny white flowers.

Removing hogweed can be dangerous because of this sap; it should also not be burned or composted for this reason. The easiest way to remove giant hogweed is to pull it when it is still very young and small and store all plant components in sealed clear garbage bags until the plant is dried and seeds are no longer viable.

Disposing of invasive species; Place invasive plants in a clear plastic bag and secure them. Write plant name (or “invasive plant”) on the bag. Place in waste cart (you can also have up to 2 excess bags beside your cart) OR bring them to any Waste Watch Drop-Off Center and pay an applicable waste disposal fee.

If you believe you have giant hogweed growing on your property please contact: coordinator@peiinvasives.org