Invasive Plant In Virginia: Can Cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS And 3rd Degree Burns

by | Jun 18, 2018 | Headline News | 25 comments

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    An invasive plant was discovered Tuesday in the northern part of Virginia. Officials are warning residents to be aware of this particular plant, as it can cause third-degree burns and permanent blindness.

    The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech said in a Facebook post that 30 giant hogweed plants were discovered in Clarke County, located between Winchester and Leesburg, reported Fox News

    The sap can cause painful blisters that can form and become “dark and pigmented,” and scars that can last up to six years, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. More disturbingly, if the sap gets into the eye, it can even lead to blindness. Environmental officials in Virginia said that while there has just been one confirmed case in Clarke County, they fell it is necessary to begin warning residents in other parts of the state to stay alert for potential sightings of the plant.

    A little girl suffers third-degree burns after coming in contact with giant hogweed. Read her story here.

    “There have been reports from VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) of sightings of Giant Hogweed in the Staunton area and Middlesex County,” Isle of Wight County posted to Facebook. “There is a strong possibility that the Giant Hogweed could find its way into the Tidewater/Coastal Virginia area.”

    Besides being a threat to humans, giant hogweed can also negatively impact the environment. The plant can grow up to up to 14 feet tall, which creates a lot of shade in the area inhibiting the growth of the native plant species.

    How to spot the giant hogweed:

    The large plants have hollow stems that are generally 2 to 4 inches in diameter, with dark purple and red raised spots and bristle-like hairs.

    The flowering top of the plant has little white flowers in groups of 50-150 flower rays clustered into an umbrella-shaped flower up to 2.5 feet across.


    Environmental officials say that extreme caution should be taken should you attempt to remove a giant hogweed. (And based on the information available about this invasive plant, removal is a good idea.)  They caution to NOT use a weed-whacker because the plant’s sap can splatter and then spread quickly. Eradication should be done by physical removal or using herbicides such as glyphosate or triclopyr, according to the NYDEC.

    After removal, continue to monitor the area for several years to make sure the plant remains eradicated. “It may be possible for hogweed seeds to remain viable in the soil for 15 years,” the agency said. “For this reason, long-term monitoring is very important. Check the site and surrounding areas for the next several years for the emergence of any hogweed seedlings or regrowth from previous year’s plants.”


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      1. a similar plant here in Florida in terms of hazard is Chamaesyce maculata or spotted spurge. Not as dangerous as the plant in the article; but, also can cause blindness or serious effects to the eyes from the latex-like sap. Nature is full of dangerous plants. Many mimic benign species. One of the worst here in this State that attracts children is what many call the ‘rosary pea’, Abrus precatorius. One single well-chewed seed can be fatal to both children and adults.

      2. Wow, hopefully it spreads all over the liberals in NVA and then DC and MD and on and on and on. . .

        • I’d like to see obama and hillary dumped in a vat of the giant hogwed juice. Their screaming would please me.

          • Hogweed sap is hillary sweat! 🙂

          • Menz,
            Have you ever
            read or watched Shogun?
            Book is good and series
            wasn’t bad.
            You do a good paraphrase of a
            vicious Samurai.

            • Yes. Thanks!

      3. The deadly plant is called a “Hanging Liberal” they grow well, next to the “Wandering 7ew” plants. Coincidence?

      4. I don’t believe that little girl got those burns from a plant. It looks like her hands were in boiling water. Poor baby! My heart goes out to her.

        Third degree burns scar for life, not up to six years. More reason not to believe this child got those burns from a plant.

        __And there is no irritation elsewhere which would be expected. The redness is straight across as liquid is, not as sap would be.

        __ my diagnosis, liar liar pants on fire


        • Such burns are from these plants. They are a plague in some areas of Poland where I live. These plants were discovered by Soviet Russia botanist Sosnowski and used as food for farm animals and later they were adapted in Poland. Only some time later it turned out that they are very sensitizing for humans and you can suffer high degree burns.

          • It seems unlikely that you are speaking of the same plant as that in the article. Any plant with such caustic sap that causes “painful blisters” could not be eaten with safety. At the very least, it would cause enough pain to stop the animals from eating.

            • The animals did not eat this plant directly from the field only processed/fermented. Here you have a short wiki info about Sosnowsky’s hogweed (Heracleum sosnowskyi):
              There is many more info and photos in the Polish language section.

        • Those are not third degree burns they are second degree, third is charring not just black scabbing and scarring.

      5. Astute observation B from CA.

      6. At least Round-Up (glyphosate) will kill it.

        • I don’t know of any plant or weed that can make it through boiling water (rolling boil as for tea). I use this method to be rid of weeds in the spaces between the sidewalk. I used it on a friend’s driveway and he was so delighted when the following years very little excess greenery grew there.

      7. This plant has been growing for a few years now in KY. It grows everywhere that you cannot mow it down and in all the fringe areas around crops and buildings where traditional invasive exploitive weeds grow anyway. And the pollen that aggravates the hell out of all allergies. the plant is toxic in all ways.

      8. This is such a racist article.

        No plant is “invasive”. All plants are equal and all plants are citizens (plant citizens) of the world and have the right to live where they want.

        This is Plant Racism. There should be no “borders” for plants and we need to embrace Plant Diversity and accept all plants as equal.

        We need tolerance. WE need Multi-Cultural Plants.

      9. Thank God for Monsanto—-Round Up will kill it …..a life saver

      10. Not happy to see such a thing in my region. Those discovered are not more than 50 miles from my house. Wonder how fast they spread…?

      11. It occurs to me, that people could not have left their yards, very often, or this would not seem like a new development.

        For so long as I can remember, this has grown along the Pacific Coast. I can see it, in the background of book illustrations and tv shows.

        I would like to know what are it’s beneficial uses (besides for the fenceline with the nosy, threatening neighbor.) For instance, what does it have to do with a hog?

        • “Giant hogweed was among many foreign plants introduced to Britain in the 19th century as ornamental plants.”

          Were they frequently binded by it, or scarred for life?

          “Giant hogweed was introduced to the Baltics during the Soviet era as fodder for cattle…The USDA Forest Service states pigs and cattle can eat it without apparent harm.”

          “These reactions are caused by the presence of linear derivatives of furanocoumarin in its leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds. These chemicals can get into the nucleus of the epithelial cells, forming a bond with the DNA, causing the cells to die. The brown colour is caused by the production of melanin triggered by furocoumarins.”

          Can this serve a useful purpose?

      12. If the hogweed don’t get ya the glyphosate will. Undoubtedly genetically modified by Monsanto to have alien type caustic sap that will eat though anything or blind you. Is there no end to the evil agenda? Obviously designed to injure and render ineffective wandering shtf preppers.
        I personally would love to see Hillary drink a gallon of this sap just for laughs.

      13. This plant looks very similar to poison hemlock, which killed Socrates thousands of year ago. Except this plant is much larger. At first I thought it WAS poison hemlock. Poison hemlock also has white flowers like this, and has purple streaks on its stem and has a hollow stem and has the fern-like leaves. Years ago, according to website news, these kids used the stem to make whistles and later they all died!!! Really horrible tragedy!! the only plant more poisonous in the US is water hemlock– a lot of it out west. so much poisonous plants– its spooky as heck!! Also, the poison hemlock looks very similar to wild carrot– Queen Ann’s Lace, which people often eat the roots from. One poor old guy had carrots growing in his back yard and after he pulled them all up, later went out and thought he had missed one but it was poison hemlock. He ate it and died!!! 🙁

      14. Recently, in Nevada, the park rangers had to close the parks because so much poison hemlock growing around the waterways.

      15. Oh.. and if you try to burn it, the fumes are toxic and that will kill you too… look it up on Internet. Poison hemlock.

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