Giant Hogweed poses threat to county residents

NORWICH – Hikers and homeowners are being cautioned this year of the dangers of an invasive plant species making its way through the county. The culprit – Giant hogweed – is a federally listed noxious weed. Its oily sap when combined with moisture and sunlight can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness.

“We're getting to the point in the season when our department is just starting to get phone calls about locations of the plant. It's in Chenango County,” said Isiah Sutton, Chenango County Director of Public Health.

Giant hogweed grows along streams and rivers and in fields, forests, yards and roadsides. It prefers open sites with abundant light and moist soil but it can grow in partially shaded habitats.

Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.

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