Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region

Giant Hogweed invades the Smoky Mountain region.

Giant Hogweed invades the Smoky Mountain region and it can be a real pain! Photo credit – Daily Mirror

Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region. Giant Hogweed looms large on it’s march toward the Smokies. Giant Hogweed can reach up to 20-feet in height and is considered extremely dangerous. It can cause 3rd degree burns and blindness. Typically found in multiple places along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions and now near the Smoky Mountains. Recently Virginia Tech researchers have identified Giant Hogweed in Clarke County Virginia and Wautauga County, North Carolina near the Tennessee line. According to Diane Watwick, Urban Watershed Forester for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Forestry, there have been no reported or confirmed sightings of the infamous plant in East Tennessee to date.

Hogweed bears a striking resemblance to Queen Anne’s lace on steroids and is sometimes mistaken for elderberry or cow parsnips-both of which look similar and grow readily in the Smoky Mountain region but rarely exceed 6-feet in height.

Hogweed, whose growth period last from mid May thru July, features huge spiky leaves, which can measure 5-feet in width, and a umbrella-shaped cluster of white flower heads that may exceed 2-5 feet in diameter. According to the USDA Forest Services, USDA and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Giant Hogweed can also be identified by unusual 2-4 inch diameter hollow stems that feature hairy bristles and maroon spots.

Contact with the plant’s clear watery sap can prove disastrous. Symptoms, which can take from 3-5 days to appear, include painful fluid-filled blisters resembling burns, and phytophotodermatitis, which can make skin sensitive to ultraviolet light for years following exposure to Hogweed’s broken stems, roots, flowers, seeds or leaves.

Native to the Caucasus Mountain range in Asia, Hogweed was introduced to other parts of the world through collections in botanical gardens where its escape into other areas proved easy.

The Great Smoky Mountain region, with its miles of wild areas and abundant varieties of vegetation, just might prove the perfect incubator for the monstrous plant which produces some 100,000 seeds annually that are then spread by the wind or running water and can remain viable in the soil for up to 10 years.

Best advice is do not come into contact with any part of this plant and if you think you have identified a Giant Hogweed contact the UT Agriculture extension office at 865-974-7114

More Hey Smokies Features:

Smoky Mountain Pink Moon
Smoky Mountain Pink Moon...
Smoky Mountain Pink Moon. The Pink Moon or "Fools Moon" will not be turning pink despite the name. April’s full Moon arrives on Tuesday, April 7[Read More >>]
Dolly Parton Reads Imagination Library Stories
Dolly Parton Reads Imagination Library Stories...
Dolly Parton Reads Imagination Library Stories. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to childre[Read More >>]
Dollywood Cades Cove Expansion Breaks Ground
Dollywood Cades Cove Expansion Breaks Ground...
Dollywood Cades Cove Expansion Breaks Ground. Smoky Mountain officials announced today the expansion of the popular theme park has begun. The pr[Read More >>]
Native American Fry Bread Recipe
Native American Fry Bread Recipe...
Native American Fry Bread Recipe. This bread has been sustaining Americans for centuries. The simple recipe has been handed down through the ge[Read More >>]
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park. GSMNP closes to support COVID - 19 prevention efforts. Park officials have closed all a[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Initiates Corona Virus Health Guidelines
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Initiates Corona Virus Health Guidelines...
Great Smoky Mountains Initiates Corona Virus Health Guidelines. Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 all national park campgrounds, picnic areas, p[Read More >>]
Appalachian Trail Thru Hikers Asked To Postpone Thru-Hikes
Appalachian Trail Thru Hikers Asked To Postpone Thru-Hikes...
Appalachian Trail Thru Hikers Asked To Postpone Thru-Hikes. Late winter and early spring is the time for a mass human migration known as Appalac[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Visitor Centers Close
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Visitor Centers Close...
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Visitor Centers Close March 17, 2020. The closures are in response to efforts to inhibit the spread of the CO[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Region Coronavirus Closings
Smoky Mountain Region Coronavirus Closings...
Smoky Mountain Region Coronavirus Closings as of March 16, 2020. As the nation and the world brace for the effects of the COVID-19 virus the Smo[Read More >>]
Park Recruits Trail Volunteers
Park Recruits Trail Volunteers...
Park Recruits Trail Volunteers. Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses over 500,000 square miles and boasts 848 miles of maintained [Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Considers Cades Cove Car Ban Changes
Great Smoky Mountains Considers Cades Cove Car Ban Changes...
Great Smoky Mountains Considers Cades Cove Car Ban Changes. The scenic valley of Cades Cove is traditionally closed to motor vehicles until 10 a[Read More >>]
Clingmans Dome Volunteers Needed
Clingmans Dome Volunteers Needed...
Clingmans Dome Volunteers Needed. Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The observation tower, at 6,644' fe[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Mingus Mill Volunteers Needed
Smoky Mountain Mingus Mill Volunteers Needed...
Smoky Mountain Mingus Mill Volunteers Needed. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are asking for volunteers to provide interpret[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Car Ban Ends
Cades Cove Car Ban Ends...
Cades Cove Car Ban Ends. Cades Cove has been closed for visitors for two months but that ends when the Laurel Creek Road (a seven-mile main acce[Read More >>]
Keep Sevier Beautiful Gardening Workshops
Keep Sevier Beautiful Gardening Workshops...
Keep Sevier Beautiful Gardening Workshops are scheduled for each Thursday in March, 2020. The workshops are free to everyone and begin each week[Read More >>]
Volunteers needed for Great Smoky Mountain ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Program
Volunteers needed for Great Smoky Mountain ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Program...
Volunteers needed for Great Smoky Mountain ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Program. National park rangers are seeking volunteers to monitor designated plots thro[Read More >>]
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Mardi Bear Event
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Mardi Bear Event...
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Mardi Bear Event will be a fun way to celebrate Mardi Gras in the Smokies! This Smoky Mountain event is scheduled f[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Life Insurance
Smoky Mountain Life Insurance...
Smoky Mountain Life Insurance. A Smart Planning Tool for Your Life Life insurance can feel complicated and overwhelming, but at its core, it's[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts 12.5 Million Visitors
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts 12.5 Million Visitors...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts 12.5 Million Visitors. Great Smoky Mountains National Park broke it's all time annual attendance re[Read More >>]
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains!
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains!...
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains! Perhaps no image is more stereotypical of the rural South than that of the [Read More >>]