Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), a horror plant that can cause serious harm to humans, has been recently spotted in northern Virginia for the first time.
Officials are currently investigating potential sightings in other parts of the state. They are also warning people to stay clear of this dangerous weed, as the plant’s sap can make skin extremely sensitive to the sun and can lead to third-degree burns in a short period of time. And that’s not all. If this sap gets in the eyes, it can cause permanent blindness.
According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation identification guide, the plant tends to be between seven and 14 feet tall, with clusters of 50 to 150 flowers. This plant deeply shades the nearby areas and inhibits the growth of native species. Giant hogweed can easily be mistaken for other harmless plants, such as Queen Anne’s lace and cow parsnip.
A word of caution:
If you think you have been burned by giant hogweed, immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and cold water, avoid sunlight for at least 48 hours, and see a doctor immediately.