Hog Weed Threat In Southern Tier

Written By: Asha McKenzie
Hog Weed Threat In Southern Tier

SOUTHERN TIER (WENY) -- A dangerous plant is in Bloom across the Southern Tier, causing the Department of Environmental Conservation to warn New Yorkers.
     Hog Weed is no stranger to this region but it is a health threat because it can cause severe burns.
     The weed can be found on roadways, near streams and even in your backyard and a simple touch could send you to the hospital.
     Efforts are underway to clear it out, because if you touch it -
     "It will burn you," said Vince Spagnoletti, Commissioner of Public Works, Steuben County. "Just like a heat burn or a burn from a flame."
     The sap from the plant combined with sunlight and moisture can cause severe blistering and eye irritation that could result in scarring and blindness.
     And The plant is not hard to spot.
     It can be up to 14 feet tall with White flowers grouped together in an umbrella shape.
     The stems are hollow and thick with purple splotches with big lobed leaves.
     And it's not to be confused with queen Anne's lace which is much smaller, and harmless.
     "Stay away from it, if you do get burned, go to the emergency room, do not mow it or cut it down," said Spagnoletti. "That just spreads the seeds."
     On County Route 24 in Risingville you'll see signs that read "Warning Hog Weed." It's to notify people the dangerous plant is in the area.
     "Being that I am out doing inspections on the road all the time, I look for the hog weed growing being that i'm out here and I can spot it."
     And this year, there has been 6 confirmed location in Steuben county.
     If you see Hog weed in your area, immediately call your county's public works department.