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Invasives & Harmful Plants

Invasive Species & Harmful Plants Guide

The Adirondacks offer numerous trails, waterways and wilderness areas to explore! In order to maintain the current ecosystem, we all have an important role to play. This guide is designed to help you identify the harmful effects invasive species can have on native fauna and flora -- and what you can do to help! We also highlight some nuisance plants you may want to avoid for your own safety. While you're out hiking, biking, or waterfall hunting, please remember to be aware of your surroundings and take caution around harmful plants, knowing some can cause mild to severe reactions. See below for more information on invasive species and harmful plants you may encounter while out and about in the Adirondacks.

giant hogweed
image © Free Photos (license)

Giant Hogweed

This invasive species is rare to find in the Adirondacks, and we can all do our part to help eradicate it. Be advised it has a highly powerful sap that has the potential to cause very severe skin irritation and even blindness. It is important to know how to recognize, avoid and report this harmful plant.

Learn more about Giant Hogweed »

wild parsnip
image © Joshua Mayer (license)

Wild Parsnip

Sometimes referred to as Poison Parsnip, this invasive herb has spread throughout the United States and is spreading into the Adirondacks. When crushed, its sap contains photochemicals that cause irritation and painful burns, much like as its cousin, the Giant Hogweed.

Learn more about Wild Parsnip »

stinging nettle
image © John Tann (license) 

Stinging Nettle

An herb that may have health benefits when dried and prepared as a tea is irritating to the skin as a fresh plant. Learn how to recognize this nuisance plant and avoid its short-lived irritating sting.

Learn more about Stinging Nettle »

poison sumac
image © Joshua Mayer (license) 

Poison Sumac

With smooth green leaves and red, woody stems, learn why this plant is to be avoided if you come across it in the North Country.

Learn more about Poison Sumac »

poison ivy
 

Poison Ivy

Be on the lookout for this highly irritating plant, growing low to the ground in many areas throughout the Adirondacks.

Learn more about Poison Ivy »

algal bloom harmful
Photo Credit: New York State DEC

Harmful Algal Blooms

If a body of water looks discolored or covered in thick algae, it's very possible that a harmful algal bloom has taken over.

Learn more about Harmful Algal Blooms »


Check out our wildlife guide for identifying any critters you may see along your travels as well.