Virginia Officials Warn of Dangerous Invasive Plant

INVASIVE PLANT THAT BLINDS, CAUSES 3RD-DEGREE BURNS FOUND IN VIRGINIA

A Horrifying Toxic Plant Causing Third-Degree Burns and Blindness May Start Popping Up Near Cleveland

Until recently, there were no confirmed cases of giant hogweed in Virginia, according to officials. 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. 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.

Though common in NY state, which has spent millions fighting the plant, and elsewhere in the Northeast, the giant hogweeds in Berryville and Frederick County are the plant's first known locations in Virginia.

Like we mentioned, sap from the hogweed contains toxic chemicals. When these chemicals come into contact with human skin, it can cause a reaction that makes skin extremely sensitive to light.

Experts like MASSEY HERBARIUM said GIANT HOGWEED is much larger than chunkier leaves.

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

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Giant hogweed is on the federal and OH noxious weed lists.

Well, giant hogweed (despite having an ugly name) is actually kind of pretty.

The risky plant also grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. "See your physician if you think you have been burned by giant hogweed". Caitlin O'Kane of CBS News reports that birds and waterways can also transport the seeds to new locations.

The site also notes that Hogweed seeds can stay viable in the soil for up to 15 years-so once this stuff moves in, residents have to stay watchful even if it looks like they have successfully eradicated it. The plant is a native of the Caucasus region of Eurasia, between the Black and Caspian seas. He said a previous property owner planted it as an ornamental. It can grow to as high as 20 feet.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a long list of methods for eradicating the plant-and an equally long list of warnings about what can go wrong.

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