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 Super Moon
Smoky Mountain Super Moon...
Smoky Mountain Super Moon will rise above the Southern Appalachian mountains Wednesday, March 20, 2019. This Smoky Mountain special event is the[Read More >>]
Knoxville's Urban Wilderness
Knoxville's Urban Wilderness...
Knoxville's Urban Wilderness Is Wild. The urban wilderness is gaining national recognition for it's expansive multi-use trail system and l[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Corvette Expo
Smoky Mountain Corvette Expo...
Smoky Mountain Corvette Expo at LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee will be a roaring good time. The expo is scheduled for March 15th and [Read More >>]
Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe
Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe...
Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe, the perfect Saint Patrick's Day meal. Few dishes are more associated with the Emerald Isle than the iconic Co[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Saint Patrick's Day Events
Smoky Mountain Saint Patrick's Day Events...
Smoky Mountain Saint Patrick's Day Events. You don't need the luck of the Irish to find plenty of fun this Saint Patrick's Day. These ancient mo[Read More >>]
Ramsey Cascades
Ramsey Cascades...
Ramsey Cascades is a difficult hike with an amazing destination.There are many waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains and a personal favorite i[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces New Chief Ranger
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces New Chief Ranger...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces New Chief Ranger. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials tapped Lisa Hendy as the Park’s fi[Read More >>]
Healthy Black Bear Returns Home.
Healthy Black Bear Returns Home....
Healthy black bear returns home. Willow Bear returned to National Park by Appalachian Bear Rescue. Willow Bear (named upon arrival at ABR) was r[Read More >>]
New Foothills Parkway Raises 2018 National Park Visitation
New Foothills Parkway Raises 2018 National Park Visitation...
New Foothills Parkway Raises 2018 National Park Visitation. Great Smoky Mountains National Park reported 11,421,203 visitors in 2018[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Paving Project Slows Traffic
Smoky Mountain Paving Project Slows Traffic...
Smoky Mountain Paving Project Slows Traffic. Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin paving on Little River Road between the Townsend[Read More >>]
Great Backyard Bird Count Event
Great Backyard Bird Count Event...
Great Backyard Bird Count Event offers many opportunities in the Great Smoky Mountains. This count is for the birds. Bird lovers everywhere are [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail Mushrooms...
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail mushrooms are always in season! Trametes versicolor (common name Turkey Tail mushroom) is a decomposing polypore mush[Read More >>]
Biltmore Estate Vintage Vanderbilt Clothing Expo
Biltmore Estate Vintage Vanderbilt Clothing Expo...
Biltmore Estate Vintage Vanderbilt Clothing Expo. Dressing in style at Biltmore Estate February 8 – May 27,  2019 is a Smoky Mountain special ev[Read More >>]
Valentine's Cookie Baking Class
Valentine's Cookie Baking Class...
Valentine's Cookie Baking Class at Wildflour Bakehouse in Sevierville, TN. This Smoky Mountain special event will feature separate classes for k[Read More >>]
Blue Ridge Parkway Winter Closures
Blue Ridge Parkway Winter Closures...
Blue Ridge Parkway Winter Closures. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the unofficial sister national park to the Great Smoky Mountains. Beginning in the[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Camp Stew Recipe
Smoky Mountain Camp Stew Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Camp Stew Recipe. Camp stew is a Southern favorite any time of year but especially in the cold winter months. This dish is easy t[Read More >>]
The Tenth Annual Rose Glen Literary Festival
The Tenth Annual Rose Glen Literary Festival...
The Tenth Annual Rose Glen Literary Festival presents the “write” stuff scheduled Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 9 am – 4 pm. This Smoky Mount[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Valentine's Day Events
Smoky Mountain Valentine's Day Events...
Smoky Mountain Valentine's Day Events. Valentine's Day is always a special event in the Smokies and this year's romantic day falls on Thur[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend
Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend...
Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend. Friends of the Smokies will temporarily fund the reopening of Sugarlands Visitor Center near G[Read More >>]
Ober Gatlinburg Winter Events Take The Chill Off
Ober Gatlinburg Winter Events Take The Chill Off...
Ober Gatlinburg Winter Events Take The Chill Off. Get geared up for four great winter events at everyone's favorite Gatlinburg ski destination. [Read More >>]