Don’t panic, just arm yourself with knowledge! There’s a noxious plant out there that could cost you your sight, specifically on the East Coast and in the Pacific Northwest. It’s called “hogweed,” and it can cause blindness, skin irritation, scarring, and more.

The plant is easily mistaken for other harmless plants such as Queen Anne’s Lace or Cow’s Parsnip, but the harmful hogweed can be characterized by dark purple and red raised spots and bristle-like hairs and umbrella-shaped white floral blooms.

Since the plant has recently been found in Virginia, the Isle of Wright County Virginia recently posted this warning via Facebook:

If you have never heard of Giant Hogweed, you’re not alone!

But, Giant Hogweed makes Poison Ivy look like a walk in the park. Contact with this plant, combine with exposure to the sun, can produce 3rd degree burns and permanent blindness.

This plant is currently on the Virginia Invasive Plants Early Detection Species list – (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/invsp-earlydetection). This designation means the plant is not yet widely established in Virginia, but is known to be highly invasive in habitats similar to ours.

Check out the video to learn more about this highly dangerous plant, and be sure to stay alert out there!