DEC warns LI homeowners about giant hogweed

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning Long Island residents to be wary of giant hogweed - a large, non-native invasive plant whose sap can cause burns, permanent scarring and blindness.

Giant hogweed is a federally listed noxious weed that can grow up to 14 feet tall. Its white flowers clusters can grow about 2 feet wide.

The DEC says it has greatly reduced the number of plants at many sites throughout New York over the past nine years.

Joel Litvin, of Manorville, told News 12 that he had no idea about the danger of giant hogweed when he planted it at his home 15 years ago.

"I wish I never got involved in it. That's for sure," says Litvin.

Last month, state workers cut down 45 plants on his property. On Wednesday morning, Litvin found two new plants.

The DEC has already reported the presence of the new plants at Litvin's property and told News 12 that someone will be coming out to dig them up.

"Each seed pod can contain up to 20,000 seeds and they remain viable for many years in the soil," says DEC Supervision Forester John Wernet.

According to the DEC, giant hogweed currently has been identified in 45 counties in New York. It is most prevalent in Central and Western New York.

Officials are urging residents who may have giant hogweed on their property to call the DEC.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."