Giant Hogweed

Source: wired.com

During the end of June through the first week of July, this plant may show up in your garden.  It is the giant hogweed, you will definitely have no problem identifying it as it can grow up to 15 feet tall.

Though the plant is mainly found on the eastern coastal states it is very prolific.  The plant was believed to originate in New York, from there it spread to neighboring Pennsylvania, Ontario and Michigan.  Later it was discovered in Ohio and most recently it was found in Virginia.  It has been found in over a dozen states to date.

The plant is invasive, it produces up to 120,000 winged seeds per plant.  Since these seeds have psuedo wing structures, they can be carried on the wind as well as any waterway.

The sap of the plant is highly toxic, it can cause third degree burns to ones whom get the sap on their skin.  If the sap gets into the eyes, it can cause blindness.  If you are unfortunate enough to get the sap on yourself, wash the area immediately and limit you exposure to sunlight until it is thorough removed.  The sap limits the skin’s ability to filter out the harmful UV rays resulting in burns to the affected area.

Virginia has listed the plant as a tier 1 noxious weed, meaning it’s considered a major threat to the surrounding environment.

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