Issue 7, June 8, 2015

Be on the Lookout for Giant Hogweed

A friendly reminder from Chris Evans, Illinois Invasive Species Campaign Coordinator with Illinois Department of Natural Resource.

Now is the time of year when Giant Hogweed starts to bloom. This invader has been found in Illinois a handful of times in the northeastern part of the state but we do not know of any active populations at this point.

With the health risk associated with giant hogweed, we definitely want to know of any new populations.

As you've likely heard, exposure to the sap of giant hogweed on your skin in the presence of sunlight can cause extremely serious chemical burns. If you really want to know more about the health risks of giant hogweed (including photos of the burns) then check out this link -

In Illinois we have a native look-a-like called cow parsnip. This species is in the same genus as giant hogweed and can be easily mistaken. Take a minute to look at the following identification guide that does a great job distinguishing the two species -

We covered giant hogweed and some look-a-likes in a Home, Yard and Garden article last year –

If you think you've found a population of giant hogweed, please DO NOT TOUCH it! Instead, take some photos, in particular close up of the leaves, flower heads and stem if you can and report the infestation. You can report it to me at or to Chris -, or call your local Department of Agriculture or University of Illinois Extension Service office. (Kelly Estes)

Kelly Estes

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