Giant Hogweed, Blindness causing plant spreading across US – latest confirmed sighting in Virginia

Giant Hogweed known for causing permanent blindness sighted to be spreading across US. Giant hogweed was recently spotted in Virginia for the first time and may also grow in other states.

The latest confirmed sighting of giant hogweed came in Clarke County, Virginia. It was identified by researchers at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech, who say there are about 30 plants in the area.

Hogweed, the Giant plant that causes third-degree burns, painful blisters, permanent blindness

hogweed2-rober emma virginia US dangerous plants

Robert Emma, recenty moved to new house and spotted a long plant near by his house. For weeks, he wondered about the plants and what to do with it. It has throns all over and luckily he decided not to go near and informed Agricultural expert Mark Vaughn who is a Senior Research Specialist in Viginia tech about this.

Mark took some sample to hs lab and confirmed that it is dangerous Giant Hogweed which can cause permanent blindness if it is goes to eye. And by touching it can cause burns and blisters. He told Robert “Don’t even touch that Hogweed, and only destroy it with help of experts”. The Berryville patch was planted by a previous owner, as the blooms, in a simpler time, were considered decorative.

The plant Giant hogweed can grow eight to 14 feet and is originally from Western Asia. It is assumed that on 1971 first time this plant has been brough into the America from Western Asia. If the sap gets in the eyes, it can cause permanent blindness.

CNSPhoto-HogweedNormally the plant grows in the wild and it is rarely seen in the human habitat places. By touching it can cause third-degree burns and even blindness. Researchers says, the Sap from the invasive plant makes skin so sensitive to sunlight, thus making the normal exposure cause third-degree burns, painful blistering and permanent scarring.

It is the first time in Virginia, Giant hogweed has been spotted, and researches fear that may also grow in other states. Warnings have been issued in previous years after discoveries in MichiganNew York and elsewhere in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

Some people still consider it as Fake news of spotting the Hogweed in Virginia, but officials says it is not Fake news and there is chance of almost 20,000 plant seeds have been spreaded across the region. Hogweeds seeds can spread through air which make it very compelex to contain it in one region.

Officials are also warning residents to report sightings and stay away from the plant. Especially take care of Kids who has more chance to touch this plant while playing or for camping.

If any gardeners who are not sure what they are looking at should back away and contact their local Virginia Tech agricultural extension agent or the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs as immediately as possible.


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