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Dangerous Invasive Plant Found

Giant Hogweed discovered in Virginia

June 15, 2018 - 5:26 pm

(RICHMOND, VA - wrva.com) - A Facebook post about the dangers of Giant Hogweed found in Virginia is making the rounds and scaring a lot of people.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Biologist Kevin Heffernan says it was found in a residential garden in Clarke County and that it can be very dangerous if the sap comes in contact with your skin. Giant Hogweed can cause a severe rash, blisters, burns to the skin and even blindness if the sap gets in your eyes.

However, Heffernan says it's in an isolated location, that they are on in and that there is nothing to panic about. There is no epidemic of Giant Hogweed in Virginia, he says.

Heffernan could not confirm any injuries like those included in the post going around Facebook. But they are asking people to be on the lookout and report it if you spot it.

It can resemble other plants, so Heffernan advises that you go to their website and get familiar with what it looks like - http://www.vainvasivespecies.org/species/giant-hogweed. If you do find any, there is a reporting feature on the site. They ask that you take a picture of the leaves, stem and the flowers. Heffernen calls giant hogweed a "huge" plant, not to be confused with smaller plants, weeds or flowers commonly found in Virginia.