Giant Hogweed is an invasive, non-native plant that poses a serious threat to human health and natural ecosystems.
Do Not Touch This Plant: If you come in contact with this plant, you could experience severe burns to your skin, and risk temporary or permanent blindness.
Giant Hogweed has been identified in some areas of Thornhill and Markham. Efforts have been made to safely remove the plants; however, caution should still be taken in the infested areas. Please respect any warning signs posted and stay away from the plant.
The clear sap found in the hairs, leaves and stem of the Giant Hogweed plant contains compounds that cause photodermatitis (symptoms can range from redness and itching to painful blistering).
Contact with the eyes can cause temporary or even permanent blindness in some cases.
If you are exposed to Giant Hogweed:
- Wash the affected area thoroughly
- Avoid exposure to sunlight
- Seek medical attention
Image of Giant Hogweed Leaves: large, deeply cut with sharp coarse teeth, reaching widths in excess of 1 meter.
Key identifying features
Height: 1 to 5.5 meters
Leaves: large, deeply cut with sharp coarse teeth, reaching widths in excess of 1 meter.
Stems: hollow, ridged with red-purple splotching and coarse white hairs, with a diameter of 4-10 cm at its base.
Flowers: white, compound umbel (80 or more cm across) made up of 4 to 12 smaller (14 – 40 cm) flat, round units.
In Thornhill, Giant Hogweed plants have been found by the banks of the East Don River, near the intersection of Bayview and Steeles Avenues continuing upstream to the north-west as far as Yonge Street. Three parks, Almond, Proctor and Woodland, are included in this area.
In Markham, a single stand of Giant Hogweed has been found south of 16th Avenue, a short distance east of Main Street Markham, in an inaccessible natural area.
If you think that you have found Giant Hogweed outside the areas described above, please contact the City of Markham.
For more information on Giant Hogweed, visit:
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System
Giant Hogweed Fact Sheet (704/1p)
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