Hogwood: This Plant Can Blind You Permanently…and It’s Now in Virginia

Hogwood: This Plant Can Blind You Permanently…and It’s Now in Virginia

That field full of flowers is lovely…but it may not be as innocent as it seems.

Many common plants have poisonous properties, from poison Ivy to foxglove, hydrangeas and rhododendrons. But many of them you have to eat- aside from poison Ivy- in order to feel the disturbing effects. It’s another story when simply brushing by some leaves can cause permanent blindness.

And that’s what residents of northern Virginia are facing. Officials say they’ve discovered large swaths of invasive giant hogwood in upper parts of the state.

The plant’s sap can cause third-degree burns and other major problems can surface when the sap is combined with exposure to the sun.

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“In brief, the sap prevents your skin from protecting itself from sunlight, which leads to a very bad sunburn,” stated the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. “Heat and moisture (sweat or dew) can worsen the skin reaction. The phototoxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact, with sensitivity peak between 30 minutes and two hours after contact.”

The plant has hollow stems and a white, spreading flower. It also has dark reddish-purple splotches and coarse white hair on the stems, and can grow to be about 5 feet tall (1.5 meters).

If you happen to touch it, you can experience severe burns and blisters that can surface within 48 hours. Wash the affected area immediately, DON’T touch your eyes, stay out of the sun to prevent your skin reacting with the sun, and seek medical attention immediately.

For more information on giant hogwood, click here.

Photo credits: Starover Sibiriak/Bigstock.com

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