Well, whoeeee, this is something I don't want to run into - and I guess it is becoming rampant.
2 photos via google images:
Photo of giant hogweed here -
source - http://www.aphotoflora.com
Photo of reaction to hogweed sap -
Link to article on hogweed in the Chicago Tribune
Part of the article here -
Don't let pretty flower deceive you
Spread of noxious giant hogweed is causing alarm
By E.A. Torriero
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 13, 2006
PIERPONT, Ohio -- Farmer Settilio Codispoti hoped to beef up his three little goats. So he figured the towering, white-flowered weeds that encircled his barn would make great feed.
"The goats got funny," the Italian immigrant said. "No produce milk, no produce kids, no do nothing. So I got rid of 'em."
Now Codispoti knows it was not the goats. He should have annihilated the weeds.
As if Americans don't have enough dangers lurking, here comes the advancing threat of giant hogweed. A public enemy on the federal noxious species list, the alluring weed is doing more than making goats impotent.
It causes burns and bubbly blisters on legs and arms of people who come into contact with its sappy juice. It leaves folks crazed with itching. Discoloration on the skin can last a year.
Illinois appears safe for now: There have been no sightings.
But hogweed, a renegade of the carrot family, has surfaced in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. When a botanist found a patch near Warsaw, Ind., in 2004, state natural resources crews went on high alert. In a fury, they literally obliterated the plants with shovels and chemicals.
"We made a stand and got really aggressive with this beast," said Glenn Nice, a weed scientist at Purdue University. "It's a real pest, and we don't want it here."
Known to botanists as Heracleum mantegazzianum, hogweed has centuries-old roots in the mountains of Eurasia. But it looks like something out of a rain forest.
Hogweed can grow twice as tall as a professional basketball center--some 15 feet. Its hollow stem is as big around as a household water pipe and is accented by purple-reddish blotches.
The weed produces a flat oval fruit that Iranians have long used as an anise-tasting cooking spice known as golmar. In a usual summer season, flowers from one hogweed plant produce 10,000 to 20,000 seeds that often spread by water.
To this day, hogweed remains a royal pain in Britain. In Europe it is known as the "Giant Alien."
In London, hogweed threatens to hogtie construction for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Thousands of the weeds are choking sites planned for several competitions. The weeds will have to be chopped and burned to prevent their spread.
In North America, Hogweed drew notice in the early 1900s in an upstate New York arboretum. Rich tourists seeking to spruce up their gardens likely carried it there from Britain, experts said.
See link for rest of article
Anyone on a2k have experience with this plant?
I considered putting this thread under Pets and Garden, but decided ecology was a somewhat better fit.