Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Toxic plant that burns skin, causes blindness spreading in U.S.

Toxic plant that burns skin, causes blindness spreading in U.S. Toxic plant that burns skin, causes blindness spreading in U.S.
Theresa Hayes | 21 June, 2018, 23:45

Giant hogweed is part of the carrot family, and for a toxic plant, it is surprisingly pretty. Since then, the plant has become established in NY state, which has felled more than 6.3 million hogweed plants, and other locations in the Northeast. Warnings have been issued in previous years after discoveries in Michigan, New York and elsewhere in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest. "There is a strong possibility that the Giant Hogweed could find its way into the Tidewater/Coastal Virginia area". The plant can grow up to 14-feet tall with large bunches of white flowers at the top, so despite it's beauty, don't touch it or attempt to take selfies with it.

A single giant hogweed plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. Like we mentioned, sap from the hogweed contains toxic chemicals.

Giant hogweed is one of three plants defined in Virginia as a Tier 1 noxious weed and is heavily regulated.

The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech said it found the plant in Clarke County, Virginia.

The AP says giant hogweed is listed as a prohibited species, meaning the plant isn't widespread and so far has been found only in isolated spots - but it's likely that it would spread, if it's not controlled. According to the Isle of Wight County Facebook page, there have also been reported sightings in the Staunton area and Middlesex County.

If the sap gets into the eye, it can even lead to blindness.

Compressed soaked in an aluminum acetate mixture that is available at pharmacy provide relief form skin irritation. He said the plant is easily mistaken for cow parsnips, but gardeners who aren't sure what they're looking at should back away and contact their local Virginia Tech agricultural extension agent or the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs. Giant hogweed is fast-growing and is known to invade roadsides, the edges of forests and empty lots, the AP said. And if the sap gets in your eyes, rinse them out as soon as you can, put on sunglasses and call your doctor.

If you come across the plant, you are urged to report it to the Virginia Cooperative Extension.