Giant hogweed is a dangerous plant and is designated as a federal noxious weed due to its toxic sap that causes skin sensitivity to UV radiation and leads to blistering and severe burns. It is native to Europe and Asia and was introduced around 1917 for use as an ornamental plant. It is also used as a spice in middle Eastern cooking. Hogweed is a towering herbaceous biennial plant growing 15-20 ft. in height with interesting foliage and massive flower heads. The large stem is hollow, about 2 in. across and usually marked with purple blotches. The leaves are deeply lobed, sharply pointed, and up to 5 ft. across. Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer. The white flowers are arranged in large umbrella-shaped heads that can be up to 2½ ft. in diameter. Hogweed has been reported in scattered locations in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Northwest regions. It grows well in a variety of habitats but prefers moist, rich soils in disturbed areas such as riverbanks, ditches and railroad right-of-ways. It spreads by seed. Do not cultivate, plant, purchase, or transplant this plant. If found, notify your state Department of Agriculture of the exact location and request assistance with control.