Giant Hogweed Plants Thought to be Spotted on Paint Creek Trail

Earlier this week, a couple from Rochester Hills reported that they thought they saw Giant Hogweed plants on The Paint Creek Trail. These plants are beautiful, but very dangerous if handled. Fox news reported that a woman in New York has gone blind from getting the sap in her eyes while attempting to transplant it. The couple called Dinosaur Hill and has inquired with others to find out if the plants spotted in Rochester are in fact these dangerous Giant Hogweed plants.

The website explains that the “Giant Hogweed is a kind of plant with flowers the size of umbrellas and sap that causes blisters and blindness.”

Heracleum mangtegazzianum is the Latin name for the plant. It lives up to its name, growing from eight to 15 feet high and is native to the Caucasus  Mountains of Central Asia.

The Department of Agriculture suggests that the plant originally came to the United States as an ornamental plant. Spices obtained  from the plant are used in some Iranian food dishes as well.

Considered a noxious weed by the federal government, Giant Hogweed produces a sap that, when exposed to sunlight, can cause large, painful blisters and dark scars on the skin, and blindness if it gets into the eyes. Contact with leaves and stems can also result in exposure to the sap, so the plant should be handled as one would handle poison ivy.

Giant Hogweed has a long tap root that allows it to survive even after being cut down. The danger of the sap and the difficulty of removing it permanently make it difficult for homeowners to deal with Giant Hogweed.”

As a follow-up to this article, Oakland Township ruled out the possibility of Giant Hogweed. See here

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  1. Gordie Gough says

    That’s great and timely information. I run the Trail several times a week and have spotted these plants alongside the trail. I thought they might be Queen Anns Lace. It’s a good thing I didn’t stop to find out!

  2. Just curious, Is the specimen in the picture the one that was spotted? or one taken from the web ? Reporting something of this nature that has not been officially confirmed is not very responsible. I respectfully ask that you retract or clarify the story. As written this sounds confirmed especially with the photo and went all the up the flag pole to the MI Dept. Of Agriculture, staff time and resources from multiple organizations were used to clarify that it is not in fact Hogweed but Cow Parnsip a similar species is growing along the trail. In the future accurate reporting would be helpful.

    • The photo was from the web, the couple reporting what they saw did not have a picture. Oakland Township has now confirmed that these were not Giant Hogweed.

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