Beware the giant hogweed, botanical name (Heracleum mantegazzianum). This invasive plant is very dangerous and both you and your children should learn about it so that you can avoid it. Brought into the country as an ornamental it got away into the wild and is now on the federal list of noxious weeds because of it being a public health hazard.
It started in New York but has spread to Connecticut; the District of Columbia; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Ohio; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Washington; Wisconsin; and Ontario and Vancouver Island in Canada. Because it is a member of the carrot family it can be hard to determine if that is what the plant is. Although if it is well established plant you would know because of its size.
They can grow 15 to 20 feet tall. The sap is very irritating to humans and just brushing against the plant can bring problems. The sap if it gets on your damp skin (as when you are perspiring) and then the sunlight hits it will cause a burning sensation, the skin will then turn red and after that you will get large fluid filled blisters. If you do come into contact with the plant wash immediately with soap and water and maybe you won’t have any reaction. If you do start having a reaction you will need to seek medical care.
If you see this plant on your land or around where children may touch it you should not try to deal with it yourself. You may end up getting the sap on you or making things worse by spreading the seeds around thus ensuring a bigger crop of giant hogweed. The best thing to do would be to call the EPA office in your state to see if they will remove it. If not they may tell you of an herbicide like round up or that type of thing to kill the plant.
Below you can see a vidoe of a little girl in Scotland that shows what happens to you if you get this sap on you and sunlight gets on the sap. You or at least I do not want this pant around. If I see it I will be calling someone to get rid of it.
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