‘Horror Plant’ Causes Blindness, Bad Burns Found in Hudson Valley
A "giant horror plant" that can cause blindness and severe burns is still in the Hudson Valley.
The Giant Hogweed is found all over New York State, including in the Hudson Valley, according to the DEC.
The plant, which Science Alert calls a "giant horror plant," is a federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, when mixed with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and even blindness, according to the DEC.
The map below shows the current confirmed locations of giant hogweed sites in New York State in 2019.
The plant's sap prevents your skin from protecting itself from sunlight which leads to a very bad sunburn. Heat and moisture worsen your skin's reaction. Pain can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact.
A Giant Hogweed plant can grow up to 14 feet or taller, according to the DEC. Its hollow, ridged stems grow 2-4 inches in diameter and have dark reddish-purple blotches. Its white flower heads can grow over 2.5 feet in diameter.
According to the DEC, their "Giant Hogweed Program," is continuing to make progress. The program, now in its 12th year, has eradicated the plants from 623 sites, with another 448 plant-free sites being monitored, according to the DEC.
"With the assistance of our local partners, DEC's Giant Hogweed Program has made excellent progress in removing this dangerous invasive from New York communities," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "DEC not only works to eradicate this health hazard, but also to raise public awareness about how to recognize it, avoid it, and report it. We urge New Yorkers to stay vigilant and report potential giant hogweed to DEC, especially during the next few weeks as the plants begin to bloom and become more noticeable."
Below is a photo of Giant Hogweed sites that the DEC has eliminated in 2019
The plant grows along streams, rivers, fields, forests, yards and roadsides. It likes open sites with lots of light and moist soil but it can grow in shaded areas.
"Do Not Touch This Plant," the DEC warns on its website.
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