DEC warns of dangerous, invasive weed

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Officials are warning those who spend a lot of time outdoors to keep an eye out for a dangerous plant potentially making its way to the Capital Region.

“They want to see the beauty, and I don’t think you always stop to think that some of it is pretty but could be dangerous, potentially,” Janice Floyd, of Brunswick, said.

Floyd loves to walk outdoors and take in the scenery, but she doesn’t always know what she’s looking at.

“You don’t know if they’re flowers or they’re weeds, but I think not knowing that, you just stay away from things,” she said.

One plant that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation urges you stay away from is the Giant Hogweed, a very dangerous, invasive weed. The sap from the Hogweed can cause serious burns to the skin and blindness if it gets into the eyes.

Andrew Krug lives in West Sand Lake. With a 3-year-old son who enjoys playing outside, he finds the Giant Hogweed concerning.

“It’s definitely something to be scared about,” he said. “It’s definitely not sounding like a simple rash that you would get.”

According to the DEC, the Giant Hogweed can grow to be 14 ft. tall, its stem is green with purple blotches and coarse white hairs, it has large leaves, and it’s topped off with a cluster of white flowers.

While the plant is more prevalent in the western part of the state, it has moved to the Capital Region over the years. It may be near streams, in fields, forests or on the sides of roads.

If you see what you believe to be a Giant Hogweed, you’re urged to contact the DEC.

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