Heracleum mantegazzianum or ‘the giant hogweed’ has been described by many as a ‘horror’ plant. Hogweed has been constantly spreading and growing across the US states of Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Hogweed is a beautiful plant but touching it can cause lifelong consequences such as permanent scars and burns or possibly blindness if it comes in contact with your eyes.
It grows between 8-14 feet and has lobed, dark green leaves that can hit 5 feet in diameter.
There are a number of life-threatening plants out there that irritate our skin when touched or poison us if consumed. But giant Hogweed is one of the deadliest.
The plant is known by many names such as cow parsnip, giant cow parsley, cartwheel-flower, or hogsbane.
What makes Hogweed Dangerous?
Hogweed has a special sap that contains a chemical called Photosynthesizing furanocoumarins.
The chemical makes the plant extremely sensitive to light for growth and better health.
When you touch Hogweed, it will immediately make the area of contact extremely prone to sunburns which may lead to skin problems.
“Once you get it on you, it makes your skin unable to protect itself from the sun.”
If by any chance the sap comes in contact with your eyes, the extreme sensitivity to light can possibly cause blindness.
What to do if the sap gets on your skin
To lessen the damage, wash the affected area with soap and water and contact your physician immediately. A doctor may prescribe medicine that will help it heal faster. Cover your skin to protect it from sunlight for the next few days.
If you spot giant hogweed in your backyard, do not try to get rid of it by yourself. Instead, contact a pro plant control specialist as soon as possible.