Giant Hogweed has been in the local news since this dangerous invasive plant was discovered in Berryville, Virginia in mid-June. Most recently, a Fredericksburg teenager suffered third degree burns after coming in contact with the plant. Thankfully, no Giant Hogweed has been found in Shenandoah National Park.
Several park visitors have reported seeing this noxious weed. But on closer inspection by park personnel it was determined the suspicious plants were cow parsnip. Similar in appearance, Giant Hogweed is often confused with cow parsnip, wild parsnip, and Queen Anne’s lace. Cow parsnip grows throughout the park and blooms in mid-Summer.
National Park personnel and Virginia State officials are warning everyone to stay away from Giant Hogweed which can grow to be 14 feet tall. Though it was found in Berryville and Staunton this year, State officials emphasize those are isolated cases and the dangerous plants were destroyed.