These plants can grow up to 14 feet tall, with thick leaves stretching 2 to 5 feet across. "There is a strong possibility that the Giant Hogweed could find its way into the Tidewater/Coastal Virginia area".
Until recently, there were no confirmed cases of giant hogweed in Virginia, according to officials. Like we mentioned, sap from the hogweed contains toxic chemicals.
Corey Childs, an extension agent in the northern Shenandoah Valley housed in Warren County, visited the Clarke County site Monday to collect Giant Hogweed samples for the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech. "And, if the sap gets in your eyes, there is the potential for blindness".
While the situation in Virginia seems to be under control, hogweed, which is native to Asia and was introduced to the U.S.in 1917, can be found in quite a few East Coast states - it's especially prevalent in NY - as well as a handful of others across the country.
Giant hogweed has previously been found in Michigan, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Washington. Compresses soaked in an aluminum acetate mixture - available at pharmacies - can provide relief for skin irritations. Caitlin O'Kane of CBS News reports that birds and waterways can also transport the seeds to new locations. And if the sap gets in your eyes, rinse them out as soon as you can, put on sunglasses and call your doctor. Seeds can grow for 10 years once they're dropped off. It is native to the Caucasus Mountain region between the Black and Caspian Seas and grows along streams and rivers, and in fields, forests, yards and along roadsides. It was first brought to the United States as a decorative plant in the early 20th century.
Should one touch giant hogweed sap, it's not quite as bad as touching the acidic blood of the titular creatures in the "Alien" franchise.
If you come into contact with a giant hogweed, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation recommends washing the affected area with soap and water and staying out of the sun for 48 hours. If necessary, the DNR can even obtain a court order to eradicate it.