Poisonous giant Hogweed spotted in Virginia

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Debra Martin, a program manager with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said officials are formulating a plan to respond to the discovery. The plant can grow up to 14-feet tall with large bunches of white flowers at the top, so despite it's beauty, don't touch it or attempt to take selfies with it.

The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech said in a Facebook post 30 giant hogweed plants had been discovered in Clarke County, located between Winchester and Leesburg.

Giant hogweed is so risky because it releases a sap that contains chemicals called photosensitizing furanocoumarins.

A single giant hogweed plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. If the sap gets in your eyes, you could go blind.

The sap of a giant hogweed plant causes a skin reaction called phyto-photodermatitis, according to OSU Extension. A toxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact. 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.

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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.

Well, giant hogweed (despite having an ugly name) is actually kind of pretty. These can grow for 10 years once they're dropped off, according to published reports.

In any case, if the toxic hogweed sap comes in contact with eyes then one should rinse the eye with cold water and put on sunglasses.

Giant hogweed, or Heracleum mantegazzianum, is a Southwest Asian plant that was brought to the United States for ill-advised ornamental purposes in 1917. Giant hogweed is fast-growing and is known to invade roadsides, the edges of forests and empty lots, the AP said.

According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, "The sap prevents your skin from protecting itself from sunlight which leads to a very bad sunburn". If necessary, the DNR can even obtain a court order to eradicate it.

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