Giant hogweed plant that causes 3rd-degree burns spotted in Virginia

Cesar Mills
June 21, 2018

A toxic invasive plant has been found on private property east of Berryville, and people are advised to be on the lookout for it, an official with the Virginia Cooperative Extension said Monday.

Giant Hogweed contains a toxic sap that reacts to sunlight.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech last week said that the weed, which originated in Asia, had been seen in Clarke County, in the far north of the state, reported another Richmond TV station, WTVR.

"Giant Hogweed" sounds like a mythical plant that the students of Hogwarts may study, but it's real - and it's risky. The floral blooms of the plant are white in color and resemble the shape of an umbrella.

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 unsafe, and can cause 3rd degree burns.

Giant hogweed typically grows "along streams and rivers and in fields, forests, yards and roadsides" and most commonly spreads when its seeds are dispersed by waterways and animals. "The stems [of the giant hogweed] are covered with more coarse white hairs and have a lot of purple spots". Seeds are flat, oval and usually tan with brown lines. Symptoms include painful blisters, which become darkly pigmented and can cause scars.

Dwight Howard headed from Charlotte Hornets to Brooklyn Nets
Getting that, along with a path to two max salary slots in 2019-20 in exchange for getting rid of a grumbling Timofey Mozgov? The Hornets will be Mozgov's sixth National Basketball Association team in seven seasons.

Late win over Tunisia a 'huge moment' for England
Kane rescued England with his late strike. "We understand it's going to have to be a team effort to win the trophy". Fans can take in England's next game, against Panama, at the O2 Academy on Sunday with kick off fat 1pm.

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia | 20 Jun 2018
Uruguay's Martin Caceres in action against Saudi Arabia in the FIFA World Cup at Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Russia on Wednesday.

Giant hogweed is a long-lived perennial plant that produces a clear, watery sap, which when it comes into contact with human skin can cause blisters and serious skin inflammation. Long-term sensitivity to sunlight, according to the NYDEC, is common. This will cause the plant's sap to splatter and spread quickly. If you somehow get the sap in your eyes, it can blind you.

If you or someone you know brushes against one of these plants, experts recommend immediately washing the affected area with soap and cold water and keeping it out of the sun for at least 48 hours. Topical steroids can reduce the severity of the burns.

Make sure to wear disposable gloves and protective clothing that covers the skin when working with giant hogweed.

The site advises to "call your healthcare provider for any severe reactions or if sap has gotten into your eyes". If hogweed sap gets into the eye, rinse with water immediately and put on sunglasses.

"Do not mow, cut or weed whack the plant, as it will just send up new growth and put you at risk for being exposed to sap - the same kind of thing that would happen with poison ivy or sumac", the NY advisory said.

Other reports by GizPress

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER