Dangerous Plant That Causes Blindness, Burns Found in Multiple States Say Officials

By Gregory Lloyd / Posted on June 18, 2018

It is a plant that resembles the harmless Queen Ann’s Lace, but it is anything but harmless. And with more people outside now that summer is upon us, you’re going to want to watch out for Giant Hogweed.

The plant is so dangerous that New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation it has issued warnings not to touch the plants.

And while the warnings seem to sound like a Snopes’ false investigation, the online fact checking site says the claims of severe irritations are true.

Giant Hogweed can be found in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Northwest areas of the country, according to Snopes. It has been found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, New York, Maryland, Oregon, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, CBS News reported. The plant can also be found in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project.

It originally came from the Caucasus Mountains, and was first found in the U.S. in the early 20th century. Birds and waterways are known to distribute seeds, according to the DEC.

Hogweed is in the carrot family and can grow 14 feet or taller. The white flower heads can grow up to 2 1/2 feet tall in diameter.

Conservation experts warn people not to touch it. If you do, the sap of the plant can cause painful blisters and permanent scarring. If it gets into an eye, it can cause blindness.

So what do you do if you do come in contact with it? Experts say wash the area exposed with soap and water. Also keep it away from sunlight for 48 hours. Experts also suggest seeing a doctor if you have been burned by the plant.

For tips on removing Giant Hogweed, click here.