Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

Spotted in NY: DO NOT Touch This Plant, You Could Go Blind

Spotted in NY: DO NOT Touch This Plant, You Could Go Blind

Sightings of the giant hogweed have been reported in Virginia, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and parts of the Pacific Northwest, WTVD reports.

Its sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins. Each plant produces a few hundred seeds, which can be carried away by the wind or accidentally spread during soil transport. If the sap gets into the eyes, it can cause permanent blindness. The white flowers on top look a little bit like Queen Anne's Lace, and sit kind of like an umbrella over the rest of the plant.

Experts like MASSEY HERBARIUM said GIANT HOGWEED is much larger than chunkier leaves. Its large size can block sunlight, killing off smaller native plants that grow at ground level, according to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.


Emma's plant, a notorious Virginia tier one noxious weed, is not alone in the commonwealth.

The plant has been spotted in NY but also, Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and parts of the Pacific Northwest. Officials worry the plant is spreading. The hazardous plant lives 3 to 5 years and is especially hardy, meaning it can grow just about anywhere and is especially hard to remove.

If you believe you've come across giant hogweed, do not try to remove it yourself . If you must touch giant hogweed, wear disposable rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and trousers. And if the sap gets in your eyes, rinse them out as soon as you can, put on sunglasses and call your doctor. It is native to the Caucasus Mountain region between the Black and Caspian Seas and grows along streams and rivers, and in fields, forests, yards and along roadsides. Metzgar says these plants are not highly proliferous as evidenced by the fact these have been there since then and have not been found anywhere else. It can grow to as high as 20 feet.


Around the beginning of June, a Virginia Department of Transportation worker found another bunch of giant hogweed growing in Frederick County after quick-witted employees, recalling a U.S. Department of Agriculture warning about the plant some years ago, spotted it.

Even so, it might take several years to eradicate a stand of Hogweed by mowing.


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