Agri-Business Council of Oregon: SALEM, Oregon—You would think a giant member of the carrot family would be something a rabbit would dream about, but Giant hogweed has few friends, and unfortunately, no natural enemies in Oregon. The Oregon Invasive Species Council June 2009 Invasive Species of the Month, featured online at www.oregon.gov/OISC, is a member of the carrot or parsley family, is native to Asia, and grows 10 to 15 feet tall. It found its way to northwest Oregon in 2001, where land managers are mounting a full frontal assault to eradicate the species in areas such as wetland and agricultural field edges, river corridors, forests, recreation areas, and neighborhoods.
Because of its invasive nature, Giant hogweed readily becomes a pest and outcompetes native vegetation. The plant is also a public health hazard because the sap causes skin to be more sensitive to the sun, resulting in second degree burns. The photosensitive effects can remain for several years, resulting in seasonal burns and scars.
The good news is that if Giant hogweed is detected early, mechanical and chemical treatments can kill the plant. Sites are monitored for five years to ensure any seeds the plant may have produced do not have an opportunity to grow and become established.
“Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) to infestations increases the potential successful eradication of hogweed,” said Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Noxious Weed Control Program Manager Tim Butler. “Our goal is to detect infestations when they are small while they are more easily controlled. EDRR efforts also make sense economically—for every dollar spent, you can gain $33 in benefits.”
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