Giant Hogweed, an invasive species, is appearing more frequently in local ditches and fields. While impressive to look at, the weed is very toxic.
Three sightings of Giant Hogweed, an invasive plant species, have been reported in the Kawartha Lakes. Two of them are near the intersection of Killarney Bay Rd. and Chamber's Rd. and one on Road 121 near Kinmount.
The plant's toxic, watery sap can cause severe burns, painful blistering and contact between the sap and the eyes can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.
Giant Hogweed resembles some native species such as Angelica, Queen Anne's Lace, and Cow Parsnip. Unlike native plants, Giant Hogweed can grow up to 5 meters tall and has a stem 5 to 10 cm in diameter. The stem and leaf stalks are hollow, covered with coarse hairs, and are often purple-spotted. In summer, Hogweed produces a white umbrella-shaped flower from June to July which will produce large flat oval seeds.
Giant Hogweed is massive, growing up to 5 meters tall (about 16 feet) with leaves that can be over a meter wide.
If residents encounter Giant Hogweed they are asked not to touch it, but rather to report its whereabouts. Giant Hogweed tends to grow in undisturbed sites with abundant light.
To report a Giant Hogweed sighting in Kawartha Lakes, call your local Municipal Service Centre at 705-324-9411 or toll free at 1-888-822-2225. In Uxbridge, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (905) 852-9181. Elsewhere in Durham, email sightings to email@example.com.
For more information on Giant Hogweed go to Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program at www.invadingspecis.com.