Giant Hogweed is a plant that arrived in North America in the early 1900s. It is believed to have been brought from Central Asia because of its ornamental qualities. The large flower now grows wild and poses a danger to anyone who spends time outdoors.
The Dangers of Giant Hogweed
Giant Hogweed is considered a bigger risk than poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy. The sap can cause severe reactions on skin that causes blisters in sunlight. It’s also a threat to your vision. If sap ends up in your eye, it can lead to temporary blindness that can become permanent.
How to Identify Giant Hogweed
If you see a white flower, don’t be alarmed. Only around 2% of plants suspected of being Giant Hogweed are confirmed. The real thing will have the following characteristics:
- Clusters of white flowers in an umbrella arrangement of 50 to 150 blossoms
- Flower clusters that measure up to 2.5 feet wide
- Large incised leaves that are up to 5 feet across with deep lobes
- Green stems with purple spots and coarse white hair
- Stems that are hollow and ridged, measuring 2 to 4 inches in diameter
- Flat, oval seeds that are dry and tan in color with brown lines
What Do I Do If I Touch Giant Hogweed?
Quick action can make a difference. If you come in contact with Giant Hogweed, immediately wash the affected body part and stay out of direct sunlight. For eyes, rinse thoroughly and put on sunglasses. Seek medical attention immediately to assess the severity of the situation. If you have any questions or eye concerns, please contact Grosinger, Spigelman & Grey’s Michigan’s Leading Eye Care Physicians for an appointment.