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Giant hogweed can cause burns or blindness; report sightings to Clackamas County

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Giant hogweed resembles common plants like Queen Annes lace and cow parsnip but it can cause burns and blindness.

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) has been found in urban and rural settings in Clackamas County and surrounding areas in recent years.

This invasive plant causes severe burns and even blindness in some cases. It appears to be spreading throughout the region by friendly sharing of plant starts and spread by seed.

Giant hogweed can be difficult to identify due to its similarities with common plants like Queen Anne’s lace, cow parsnip and poison hemlock. All those plants have white umbrella-shaped flowers and deeply lobed or lacy leaves. One feature separates giant hogweed from similar species causing plant lovers to want it in their yards — its size. This toxic plant is downright prehistoric in appearance and can grow to 10 to 15 feet in height in a matter of months. It typically produces 20,000 or more seeds per plant and can easily spread into surrounding yards and natural areas.

Clackamas County officials invite citizens to help control this dangerous plants by reporting any sightings to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline (oregoninvasiveshotline.or) or the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District at 503-210-6000 or send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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