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Upstate New York has plenty of wooded areas, so encountering poison ivy and poison oak is a common if irritating occurrence. But there’s another, more toxic, plant that has started invading the area.

Giant hogweed (no, not Hogwarts), is an invasive species that if touched by human skin can cause severe burns, permanent scarring and blindness. If the sap gets on your skin and then is exposed to sunlight and moisture, you will develop burns; even your eyes can be affected.

In the early 1900s, it was brought to the States from Europe as a lovely ornamental garden plant.

Apparently, the landscapers never divulged the plant’s negative traits … .

Giant hogweed can grow up to 14 feet tall, has large clusters of white flowers at the top, huge leaves that can reach the 5-foot mark, and a green and purple stem with fine hairs on it.

The DEC has issued an alert regarding the plant in upstate New York.

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Lamar Green

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