Feeds

New Yorkers battle giant blindness-causing plants

Botanical SWAT teams confront triffid-esque menace

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Authorities in New York State have warned residents to keep a sharp look-out for the giant hogweed – the alien invader from the Caucasus Mountains which has the power to cause "severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness".

A giant hogweed. Pic: Department of Environmental ConservationThe Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is in its fourth year of battling Heracleum mantegazzianum (pictured), and has six botanical SWAT teams on standby to purge the 944 known New York giant hogweed sites of the menace. Citizens who sight the beast are warned not to approach it, but rather provide photographic and location information to the department.

The giant hogweed was "introduced to Europe and the United Kingdom in the late nineteenth century and to the United States in the early twentieth century as an ornamental garden plant", DEC explains.

It adds: "It has become established in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Seeds may also be distributed by birds and waterways, and can remain viable for over 10 years."

Map of giant hogweed distribution on New York State. Pic: DEC

The giant hogweed's nasty bite is due to its production of furocoumarin derivatives which cause phytophotodermatitis, or burning of the skin in exposure to ultraviolet light. Older readers may recall the UK's own Heracleum mantegazzianum scare of the early 1970s, which prompted prog-rock outfit Genesis to issue this chilling warning to humanity. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.