Hogweed, Northwest Plants, Burns, Dangerous, How to Spot Hogweed
Credit: YuliaB | BigStockPhoto.com

What is Hogweed? It Might Be Growing In Your Backyard Just Like the One in West Seattle [video]

Hogweed:  Saw a story on KING 5 and thought the same thing.  HOGWEED.  No, it’s not something sold at any of our legal cannabis stores. It’s actually a weed, and an invasive one that can burn.  Seriously.  In fact KING 5 says ‘Hogweed is a noxious plant that can cause severe skin burns” and recently a giant one was just recently removed a giant one in West Seattle.  So, how do you spot it?

It’s the real deal, and the burns are aweful.  Take note of the following:


  • If you come into contact with the plant, doctors advise washing with soap, staying out of the sunlight and going to A&E immediately
  • Mike Duddy, a leading expert on the plant, says in the last five years it has spread to pathways, motorway embankments and roadsides
  • Says anyone who spots the plant should report it to the Environment Agency through its Plant Tracker app and notify off their local authority 

If you inadvertently brush up against any part of giant hogweed, you might notice the skin reaction within 15 minutes. Dark, painful blisters will form within two days, and the purplish or brown scars and sensitivity to sunlight can last for years.

What should you do if you are exposed to giant hogweed sap?

  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and COLD water as soon as possible
  • Keep exposed area away from sunlight for 48 hours
  • If a reaction occurs, topical steroids applied early can reduce the severity of the reaction and ease discomfort
  • If sap goes in eyes, rinse them with water and wear sunglasses
  • If a reaction has occurred, the area of skin may be sensitive to sunlight for a few years and you may want to apply sun block or keep the affected area covered from the sun when possible
  • See a physician if you have a reaction or any questions


About Shellie Hart

Your workday host is a longtime Seattle Radio Midday Air-Personality. Shellie grew up in Burien and now lives in West Seattle. She’s the on-court Entertainment Emcee for our 3X WNBA Championship Team SEATTLE STORM. Shellie is also committed to Children’s Hospital who once participated weekly in their CHILD LIFE Program, dedicating over a 100 hours of volunteer time annually. People ask all the time, “What’s your favorite part of the job?”, and my response is YOU! Sure I get to meet all kinds of famous people, but it’s engaging with the people and their Northwest families that makes me happy”