Hogweed is a plant that when in contact with people, can cause dangerous burns, blisters and scars. The plant originated in Asia and was brought to the United States and is now spreading quickly. New York State has set up a hotline for people to call so that officials can destroy the invasive species. It is advised that property managers alert their residents of the dangers of Hogweed if you suspect that they may be at risk.
Residents of the Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington, Vermont, Michigan) and even Washington State on the Pacific Northwest should beware of the giant Hogweed plants that grow up to 15 feet tall and have large white blossoms that measure up to a foot in diameter. The plant thrives in cool and wet places and you may see them along the road or by your house. Health professionals are advising people to avoid contact with this plant at all costs.
Jodi Holt, a professor of plant physiology at the University of California, Riverside says “The sap causes something called phytophotodermatitis when it touches humans, causing scars and potentially blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes.” Within 15 minutes of contact with the weed, your skin will start reacting and when exposed to sunlight, your skin will experience accelerated burns.