This toxic plant can cause 3rd-degree-burns and blindness

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The latest confirmed sighting of giant hogweed in Clarke County, Virginia.

Officials are forming a plan to respond to the discovery, said Debra Martin, a program manager with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The plant is a member of the carrot family and can grow to more than 14 feet tall, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

The latest sighting of this GIANT HOGWEED found in Clarke County, Virginia.

The sap of this plant contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitising furanocoumarins. Another lovely detail: Before death, a single hogweed plant can release up to 120,000 seeds capable of traveling long distances through water and wind before finding a new place to call home. If the sap gets in your eyes, you could go blind. The stalks feature thorns and the plant produces large white flower blooms - it's an intimidating plant. The Massey Herbarium said it appeared the previous landowner planted the giant hogweed at the site for ornamental reasons.

Giant hogweed's greatest danger is the effect its sap has on humans.

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It's important to know how to recognize giant hogweed if you are in a state where it might grow, and what to do if you find it.

Well, giant hogweed (despite having an ugly name) is actually kind of pretty. You could also soak a compress in a mixture of aluminum acetate, which is available at most pharmacies, if you think you've come into contact with the hogweed.

The plant has been spotted in NY but also, Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and parts of the Pacific Northwest. And if the sap gets in your eyes, rinse them out as soon as you can, put on sunglasses and call your doctor. These can grow for 10 years once they're dropped off, according to published reports.

The risky Giant Hogweed recently identified in Virginia was "planted intentionally", according to the Virginia Tech researchers who helped identify the plant. Metzgar says these plants are not highly proliferous as evidenced by the fact these have been there since then and have not been found anywhere else.

Even so, it might take several years to eradicate a stand of Hogweed by mowing.

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