Giant Hogweed is it’s name and this stuff is nasty! The sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters and scars.
Reports of the giant growth being spotted have flooded in, and several people have witnessed this demon plants wrath. Heracleum mantegazzianum, commonly known as giant hogweed.
Giant Hogweed is part of the Apiaceae family, also known as wild parsnip, This plant can grow anywhere from 6 feet tall, up to 18 feet.
The roots, stems, flowers, seeds, and leaves of the plant contain furocoumarin. Furocoumarin causes phytophotodermatitis in humans which is a chemical reaction causing the skin to be hypersensitive to ultraviolet light. Considered to be a highly invasive species, giant hogweed has been spotted mostly in the northeastern portions of the US. Some have even reported spotting the plant in Michigan.
Some news sources claim the plant can cause blindness, but there are no studies to suggest this. Once a human comes within contact of the plant, if their skin is exposed to sunlight- Blisters form as it burns within 48 hours. They form black or purplish scars that can last several years. Hospitalization may be needed for certain individuals.
The USDA has labelled this plant as a Federal Noxious Weed, thus attempts are made to keep this invasive species under control. In 2011 Maine state horticulturalist reported 21 locations had been confirmed to contain Giant Hogweed.
If you spot this species please contact your local conservation office.