I just moved here from Oregon about a year ago and learned about this plant, as it is prevalent in Oregon, specifically. And up until recently, it had been contained to that state. Now, though, Giant Hogweed has become a real problem in a number of places around the USA. This is a plant that can cause 3rd degree burns and permanent blindness.
While it hasn’t made it to Iowa, Illinois or Missouri yet, the growth pattern of this plant could be coming soon. If it does make it to our area before it is under control, you need to know what to do.
Where did this plant come from? It sounds like a conspiracy of modern day lore, but simply put, Russia. Specifically, the Caucaus Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. No, the Russians didn’t bring it here, but migrating birds did. Here is the scary part, these plants are virtually impossible to get rid of. Once they start growing, it could take 10 years to eliminate it.
As of right now, Hogweed can be found in Maine, Maryland, Michigan New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington (state). So far, it hasn’t reached the tri-state area, but it seems to be working inward across the country. It has become such a problem that the commonwealth of Virginia has added it to their list of invasive species with a medical warning to go with it.
So what should you look for, if you come in contact with one by sight or by tough, as this plant is very dangerous.
As you can see, this plant can be very dangerous, even though it is very pretty, but one touch can cause some very painful sores that are known to last for quite some time.
Keep this in mind, right after you touch this plant and you rub your eyes, could cause blindness.
While it hasn’t arrived in the tri-state yet (and we hope it is eradicated before it does), knowledge is power.