Officials are forming a plan to respond to the discovery, said Debra Martin, a program manager with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The plant can grow up to up to 14 feet, creating a lot of shade in the area and inhibiting the growth of native species.
Its sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins. "And, if the sap gets in your eyes, there is the potential for blindness". Giant hogweed is so named for its huge flower and leaf clusters. The hogweed in Clarke County, at least, seems to have been planted intentionally by a previous homeowner, according to Virginia Tech researchers, and is unlikely to spread.
Giant hogweed is part of the carrot family, and for a toxic plant, it is surprisingly pretty.
Giant hogweed has previously been found in Michigan, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Washington. "The phototoxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact, with sensitivity peak between 30 minutes and two hours after contact".
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Giant hogweed is native to Southwest Asia, he said, and was first seen in the United States in 1917, when it was brought in for ornamental reasons. You could also soak a compress in a mixture of aluminum acetate, which is available at most pharmacies, if you think you've come into contact with the hogweed. If you don't look too closely at it its stem, which is covered in purple splotches and coarse hair-like protrusions, the giant hogweed is nearly pretty. "If you get sap on your clothes, carefully remove the clothing to avoid skin and eye contact and wash separately from other clothing with warm water and detergent". Caitlin O'Kane of CBS News reports that birds and waterways can also transport the seeds to new locations. Seeds can grow for 10 years once they're dropped off.
According to state's Department of Environmental Conservation, the giant hogweed is unsafe, an invasive weed that has been recently spotted spreading across ny.
Even so, it might take several years to eradicate a stand of Hogweed by mowing.