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Michiganders Warned of Dangerous Hogweed

Michiganders Warned of Dangerous Hogweed

Gracie Love | Stones Detroit         May 19, 2013

What a frightening thought this gave me as that lady on the interview says her ‘…small grandchildren are in the yard on a regular basis…” For me, being a new, excited granny to two little babies; Iris is 2.5 and curious about EVERYTHING and Declan just starting to get around makes me even more cautious. I have listed below the sources for this post.

According to the website  “Giant Hogweed has been confirmed in 11 counties in Michigan:  Branch, Calhoun, Gogebic, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Manistee, Oakland, Ottawa and Saginaw. The rest of Michigan should be watchful for this species. It’s reported distribution in North America includes Maine, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington in the U.S. and in the Canadian provinces of British Colombia and Ontario. Small colonies of giant hogweed have recently been found in Indiana, Maryland, Ohio and Vermont where eradication is underway.


What does giant hogweed look like?

Giant hogweed, or Heracleum Mantegazzianum is considered a noxious weed by the federal government. It’s part of the carrot family, but it can grow up to 14 feet tall. For a toxic plant, giant hogweed is surprisingly pretty, with thick leaves stretching five feet wide and large clusters of white flowers gracing the top of the plant in an umbrella pattern. Its stems (pictured at top left) are green with purple blotches and white hairs.

Credit: Flickr/Joost Bakker

What are the symptoms from giant hogweed exposure? 

The light-sensitive skin reaction causes dark painful blisters that form within 48 hours, and result in scars that can last anywhere from a few months to six years. Touching giant hogweed can also cause long-term sunlight sensitivity, and blindness if sap gets into a person’s eye.

Credit: New York Department of Environmental Conservation

How does giant hogweed hurt humans?

Giant hogweed sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins. When these chemicals come into contact with the human skin, it can cause a skin reaction that’s extremely sensitive to light.

Credit: Flickr/Bex Ross

Giant Toxic Plants Pop Up in Mid-Michigan

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