July 23, 2010
For immediate release
No Confirmed Reports of Giant Hogweed in PEI
Environment, Energy & Forestry
“We have received a number of calls from Islanders worried about Giant Hogweed. So far, these have all turned out to be a similar plant called Cow Parsnip,” Ms. MacQuarrie said.
Cow Parsnip can grow to more than six feet and is common along streams and some sections of the Confederation Trail. One main difference between the two is that Giant Hogweed has raised red or purple spots on the stem, with stiff white bristles. Cow Parsnip stems do not have stiff bristles; its stem can have some purple but is mostly green with no raised spots.
Giant Hogweed has gained media attention in recent weeks, being confirmed in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The plant’s sap can cause burns and blisters on the skin when exposed to sunlight, and there have been reports of blindness caused by sap getting in the eyes. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the plant has only been found around gardens and not spreading into wild areas.
“Anyone believing they know of Giant Hogweed in PEI can forward photos of the plant to the Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division for identification,” Ms. MacQuarrie said.
It is recommended that anyone wishing to collect samples of the plant for identification wear gloves, long sleeves, pants and eye protection, seal the sample in a plastic bag, and wash with soap and water afterwards.