Have you ever heard of Giant hogweed?  I hadn't until I found out that it is a Federally listed noxious weed that has now been found in New York state. This is NOT a weed you want to tackle!  If you come into contact with this plant by brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves, its sap could cause you severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and even blindness.

If you're like me, you're probably wondering where in the world this scary weed came from since it's not a native North American plant.  It turns out that it came to America in the early 1900's all the way from Russia, with seeds probably carried by birds and water.

If you accidentally happen to come into contact with this plant The N.Y. Department of Health suggests that you wash it off with cold water immediately and get out of the sun since the reaction is worsened by sun and heat exposure.

The most important thing to remember is that if you come across Giant hogweed, do not try to get rid of it yourself!  Call a professional or local authorities who can properly destroy the plant and its seeds.

Find out how to identify this noxious weed by visiting The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.