Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Toxic Giant Hogweed Plant Has Spread to Virginia

An Invasive Plant That Causes Third-Degree Burns And Even Blindness Has Been Found In Virginia Plant that causes third-degree burns, blindness discovered in nearby states
Cary Marshall | 18 June, 2018, 23:27

Native to the Caucasus region, the statuesque plant looks like a huge mutant version of the benign common hogweed - but it can cause severe skin burns if you so much as brush against the bristles on its stalks. If the sap gets into anyone's eyes, there is the potential for blindness.

"A similar-looking invasive plant that's been found in N.C. and Kentucky (which could eventually arrive in Tennessee), Wild Parsnip (or 'Poison Parsnip"), can also cause similar symptoms from severe itching to skin burns and blistering.

Giant hogweed was just discovered in Clarke County, Virginia, for the first time.

Once you have an infestation, it takes a lot of work to control the giant hogweed to prevent its spread, as its seeds - each plant can shed thousands - remain viable in the soil for several years.

- A unsafe plant that can cause blindness and third-degree burns has been discovered in Virginia, according to officials.

So far, there has been just one confirmed sighting of Giant Hogweed - in Clarke County, Virginia, but the unsafe plant also grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and ME, according to CBS.

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Until recently, there were no confirmed cases of giant hogweed in Virginia, according to officials. One plant was found in Clarke.

The giant hogweed plant itself (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is technically a biennial or perennial herb in the carrot family.

According to the DEC, the plant can grow anywhere between 8 to 14 feet tall when it's flowering. "The phototoxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact, with sensitivity peak between 30 minutes and two hours after contact".

What ScienceAlert calls a "giant horror plant" has made its way to yet another USA state, and people who come in contact with it could feel the pain. If hogweed sap gets into the eyes, rinse them with water immediately, put on sunglasses, and contact your health care provider. Seeds can grow for 10 years once they're dropped off. Then, you should wash the exposed area with soap and water.

It's important to know how to recognize giant hogweed if you are in a state where it might grow, and what to do if you find it.

If you notice the plant, say authorities, don't use a lawn mower, weed whacker, or chainsaw to remove it, as those methods can cause the sap to splatter.

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