A Giant Weed That “Can Cause Blindness” Is Spreading In Virginia

Hogweed is starting to become a major crisis in some areas of the country.

If you come across one of these monsters, do not cut it down

For weeks, Robert Emma wondered about the plants growing beside his new house. The flora, as many as 40 discrete plants, was “intimidating,” the amateur gardener said, with thorns and jagged leaves five feet wide. They stood taller — much taller — than a person, and cast a canopy of white blooms a yard wide.

“It definitely warrants a discussion, to say the least,” said Emma, of Berryville, Va. “If you saw this, you would think: ‘I’m not going to touch that.’ ”

This week, Emma’s instincts were proven right. He learned he is living beside a stand of giant hogweed, a toxic plant with sap that can cause burns and blindness, must be removed with protective gear and requires a permit to be moved across the state.

I am going to go examine my own yard more carefully, because these noxious weeds are starting to spread in the northwest as well…

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