The giant hogweed, a poisonous species, is already listed in eight states, and has now been spotted in Virginia.
According to reports from the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech, around 30 of these monstrous plants were identified in Clarke County, Virginia on Tuesday last week.
Today I helped ID VA’s first giant hogweed population! Its sap causes severe burns. One plant was found in Clarke County. Report sightings to your extension agent! ID help: https://t.co/VMkYqyaccB Thanks to @herbariumkeeper and @VTAgWeeds for ID help and report! pic.twitter.com/4BM9RhyMem
— VT Massey Herbarium (@MasseyHerbarium) June 12, 2018
Don’t be fooled by it’s interesting appearance, a large stalk with huge leaves and umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers, this noxious weed is extremely dangerous, and can cause 3rd degree burns.
The burns can be caused by simply brushing against the bristles, while the sap the plant emits also irritates the skin “causing phototoxicity, severe damage to the skin through exposure to sunlight and UV rays,” according to Science Alert.
This chemical irritation of the skin can cause painful blisters, shown here, that take months heal and cause lifelong scars.
The weed has proved very hard to stop spreading. By the time the plant is noticed, it has probably already spread it’s seeds, as each plant can drop thousands.
“In some cases, a giant hogweed infestation is best controlled using several different methods in combination or in succession – in other words, a two, three, or even four-pronged attack plan,” the New York Department of Environmental Conservation reported.
Affective methods include tedious work, such as cutting the plant roots, removing seed heads, eliminating them when they’re still young, and using large amounts of herbicide, all while wearing intricate protective gear.
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