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Giant invasive plant is spreading across the US


Posted on Monday, 18 June, 2018 | Comment icon 28 comments

Giant hogweed is notoriously difficult to get rid of. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Frank Schwichtenberg
Scientists have revealed that giant hogweed has spread to Virginia and can now be found in at least eight US states.
Native to Central Asia, this towering plant, which can grow up to three meters tall, is considered an invasive species in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Originally introduced in to Britain as an ornamental plant in the 19th century, giant hogweed is particularly toxic and its sap can cause severe burns, blistering and even blindness.

Efforts to control its spread have proven futile and now, despite concerted efforts to stop it, recent reports from the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech university have revealed that it has started to turn up in Clarke County as well - making Virginia the eighth US state to have been affected.

Locals have been warned to keep away from it and report any sightings.

The plants are particularly difficult to eradicate because their seeds can remain viable for years.

A 2015 news report about identifying giant hogweed in the United States can be viewed below.


Source: Science Alert | Comments (28)

Tags: Giant Hogweed

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Hammerclaw on 19 June, 2018, 20:01
Until that comets shows up and blinds everybody and the darn things start walking.
Comment icon #20 Posted by The Silver Thong on 19 June, 2018, 20:21
Your right. I shot a tree last year with my crossbow and it kept growing. I lost that arrow as I couldn't pull it out. We are doomed.     
Comment icon #21 Posted by Hammerclaw on 19 June, 2018, 20:29
Comment icon #22 Posted by Essan on 19 June, 2018, 20:50
Genesis warned us! Turn and run Nothing can stop them Around every river and canal Their power is growing Stamp them out We must destroy them They infiltrate each city With their thick dark warning odour They are invincible They seem immune to all our herbicidal battering Long ago in the Russian hills A Victorian explorer found The regal Hogweed by a marsh He captured it and brought it home Botanical creature stirs Seeking revenge Royal beast did not forget He came home to London And made a present of the Hogweed To the Royal Gardens at Kew Waste no time They are approaching Hurry now, we must... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by paperdyer on 20 June, 2018, 20:47
Day of the Hogweed.  Catchy title.
Comment icon #24 Posted by paperdyer on 20 June, 2018, 20:53
Do we know whether the burns are caused by an acidic or alkaline substance?  I'd like if you had a patch of them and the burns are caused by acid, a good dose of NaOH might work, provided the NaOH will be absorbed with the water the plant takes up.  NaCl may be good as well.  From everything that has to be done to get rid of it, the area cleared is probably sterile for a long time anyway.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Black Monk on 24 June, 2018, 10:40
This plant is ubiquitous in Britain, especially along riverbanks.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Black Monk on 24 June, 2018, 10:41
Common hogweed is, but not giant hogweed.
Comment icon #27 Posted by baronesslucy on 25 June, 2018, 21:53
I wonder if someone planted this deliberately knowing what this plant can do to humans. The fact that it showed up out of nowhere makes me think that this happened.
Comment icon #28 Posted by rashore on 26 June, 2018, 15:36
It was planted deliberately- at least in the UK and U.S. it was. Not due to it's toxicity though. It was planted as an ornamental landscaping plant because it's a huge lovely plant. 


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