A hogweed plant was found in Michigan that can potentially leave you blind if it comes in contact with the eyes. Learn more about the giant hogweed.
The Calhoun County Public Health Department recently discovered a giant hogweed plant in Pennfield Township. Hogweed is a dangerous plant that can leave individuals blind if it comes in contact with eyes. The plant was removed but there is a chance that more hogweed plants are in the area.
Giant hogweeds are a phototoxic plant, which carry sap that causes severe skin inflammations. The plant, oddly of the carrot family, causes blisters that turn into burns in 48 hours which may leave black or purplish scars that can last several years. The biennial plant can grow upwards of 10 feet high in some instances.
If the giant hogweed plant's sap comes into contact with the eyes, it can lead to even permanent blindness.
The hogweed plant is not native to Michigan. It was introduced to the Great Lakes State during the 1900s, but in 1998 the state created a search-and-destroy policy for the dangerous plant. It is now illegal to transport or sell the plant across state lines.
If you do come into contact with hogweed, health officials advise washing the skin with soapy water and to immediately flush eyes with water. Officials also suggest seeking medical attention immediately.
If you think you've found hogweed, send photos to Michigan State University via email at [email protected], or call MDARD at 800-292-3939.