Ah, Upstate New York (wherever that is) is a beautiful place, filled with nature things we don't have in NYC. Babbling brooks running through acres of forest land, mountain vistas, Storm King, and now: "horror plants."
According the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the so-called "horror plant" (real name: Giant Hogweed) is spreading all over the upstate region, and they've now issued an alert about it. This aptly nicknamed monster, if touched, can leave its victim with severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. (This piece even includes a graphic image warning with photos of those who have come into contact with the plant.)
On their website, they warn: "If Giant Hogweed's sap gets on your skin, and is exposed to moisture and sunlight, it can badly damage your skin and eyes. The sap actually blocks your skin's natural protection against sunlight, and causes you to quickly develop a bad burn.You can come in contact with the sap by breaking or brushing against the plants stem or leaves." They also note it is a member of the carrot family. We always knew those fuckers were up to no good.
The horror plant. (Courtesy of the DEC)
They are growing along streams, rivers and in fields, forests, yards and roadsides in New England, the Mid-Atlantic Region and the Northwest, according to the DEC. The good news: this horror show is easy to spot. It looks as though it has come into contact with itself, with its stem featuring blotchy red spots. It is also, indeed, a giant — it can grow up to 14-feet tall. Which brings us to the bad news: it makes anyone standing next to it look like a miniature human in a land of giant flowers — in other words, it has adapted to our selfie-taking culture, and become a trap.
Anyway, better cancel that ayahuasca trip in Woodstock.