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Environment & Climate Change

Giant hogweed is definitely a touch-me-not

Giant hogweed close-up
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You could say, it's like something out of "Little Shop of Horrors": a nasty, giant plant that could lead to blistering, scars, even permanent blindness.  

It's called the giant hogweed, and they've found one near Battle Creek.

Gretchen Voyle is with the Michigan State University Extension Service.

According to Voyle, the real danger posed by the giant hogweed lies in its sap.

“If the sap gets on your skin and your skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, as in sunlight, it could cause the skin to blister right up,” she says. “If you get whacked in the eyes by it, the sap can cause permanent blindness.”

The plant can cause not only scarring but permanent discoloration to areas of skin that come in contact with the sap.

She says the plant is most recognizable due to its immense size, “well over eight feet tall,” and that if you touch it you should run lots of clean water over the area and seek immediate medical help.

Gretchen Voyle tells us more in our conversation above.

 

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