Thanks to Jennifer Gagnon, Coordinator, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, for letting us reprint this article from 2011. Unforunately, since Jennifer wrote this article, Giant Hogweed has now been discovered in Virginia.
6/21/18 – An update from Jennifer Gagnon – “apparently one of the reported sightings was an intentionally planted hogweed in someone’s garden. The wild sighting turned out to be cow parsnip. SO, for now, as far as we know, it hasn’t escaped into the wild in Virginia.”
You Ain’t From Around Here!
by Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Tech
There are many things I haven’t seen in the woods which I would like to see. Like a black bear, or a porcupine (as long as neither hurts my dogs). But one thing I sure DON’T want to see is a certain member of the carrot family, the giant hogweed. This is one carrot you don’t want to eat, people. According to the USDA’s PLANTS Database, this species is not yet established in Virginia; but other sources suggest that it is. Either way, this article should serve both as a warning and an incentive – let’s not allow giant hogweed to gain a foothold in the Commonwealth.