If You See This Plant, Whatever You Do Don’t Touch It!

C. Davis
By C. Davis July 30, 2015 19:29

If You See This Plant, Whatever You Do Don’t Touch It!

This plant is called giant hogweed and buds pretty white flowers that give it an altogether innocuous look.  Folks, make no mistake touching this plant!

Kids are in danger because they are more curious.

They should teach this in schools. There are only 10 plants in north america (excluding fungi) that kids need to know to avoid. So sad that kids aren’t taught basic things like this… or like what poison oak looks like.(source)

Related: 19 Survival Skills You Should Teach your Children This Summer

Although part of the Carrot family, the giant hogweed can grow up to 14 feet tall and has a deadly toxic sap!

Blistered-hands2If you brush up against this plant, accidentally break the stem or touch any of its sap that may be on it already you will get powerful blisters! The stem is quite tall so this is very easy to do and this applies to any part of your body with skin! The stems are green with patches of purple and is a bit hairy, filled with white hairs so you have an idea of what to avoid.

What Will It Do To You?

If you come into contact with the plant’s sap you can expect sever blistering, possible blindness f it comes into contact with your eyes and possible third degree burns. These effects come from the type of chemicals that it contains.  When these chemicals come in contact with human skin they dramatically increase the skins sensitivity to light.

This can cause blisters that are actually very painful and form within around 48 hours and can last from anywhere between a few months to six years.  It can cause LONG TERM sensitivity to light if the sap gets in the eye.

Get My Free Book: The Medicinal Plant Guide That Should Be In Your Bug Out Bag

What to Do If You Or Your Child Come In Contact With It?

The best prevention is of course to avoid it!

But if you come into contact with the plant you should wash with cold water immediately as the toxic reaction can begin within 15 minutes after contact and get the heck out of the sun.

Apply sunblock/sunscreen on the affected area if you are in an outdoor situation with no way to get indoors for a while.

If the same sap gets into your eyes, rinse and make sure all of it is out of the eye.  Then wear sunglasses to reduce sensitivity.

If you look at the hands in the first photo you will see a photo of a 10 year old girl that was infected by this plant.  As you can see the blisters in the photo are enormous and the rest of her hand is swollen.

The little girl is from Scotland, but don’t “worry”, the plant grows as well in USA and Canada.

Recently there were public warnings about the plant and the serious problems caused by coming in contact with it. New York, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon ,Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, Michigan and some other states are reporting sightings of the plant.


How to Get Rid Of This Pest

Well conventional wisdom would say cut it down and maybe spray some weed killer on it.  Think again, this will possibly just spread seeds and create a few more toxic plants.  You may also be exposed to the toxic sap that is the whole cause of the fear of this plant.

The best advice if this plant is near to your home or on your land is to call EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) hotline – 1-800-424-8802 or your individual state agency in order to remove this plant as it is on the radar of many countries, and is considered a pest.

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C. Davis
By C. Davis July 30, 2015 19:29
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  1. anonymous July 31, 02:16

    The scientific name would be helpful as common names can vary by region. Some better pics of the plant/leaves for ID purposes would have been nice, as well as a map of its native region and the kind of habitat it tends to grow in.

    Reply to this comment
    • Me July 31, 03:19

      Instead of being critical, just be proactive and google it.

      Reply to this comment
      • kachina August 2, 23:08

        how was your criticism either positive, proactive, or helpful?

        check your back porch, binky.

        Reply to this comment
      • You April 9, 18:06

        Real nice. Not everyone Googles everything. If they did, why would we need blogs? And there is nothing wrong with providing helpful feedback. In fact, most websites welcome comments to improve their articles….that way people don’t have to Google it! Practice what you preach with YOUR negative comment!

        Reply to this comment
      • elmo April 28, 02:26

        google! handy but imperfect..An old Eastern European FARM guide , in this case..(when you fiind google WRONG, i hope it didnt cost A LIFE lost.

        Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author July 31, 09:57

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ll add some larger pics. The scientific name of the plant is Heracleum Mantegazzianum also called giant hogweed,cartwheel-flower, giant cow parsnip, hogsbane or giant cow parsley

      Reply to this comment
      • FireFly September 5, 17:55

        Thanks for the heads up!

        Reply to this comment
      • elmo April 28, 02:37

        id be interested in your guide. /&any i know, you are welcome too./ MANY deadly plants , in USA; Most are classed as “medicinals”;( arnica montana-“wolfbane”….basis of homeopathy..5red berries will stop an adults lungs functioning.& kids GO for it.Lucky, it is 8′-12’tall and not Overly common.Be Safe.Thank You, i will beware in the Baltics ! O:-)

        Reply to this comment
      • Doc September 17, 17:06

        You might want to learn how to id plants BEFORE you publish a book on it. You will end up killing people by giving them bad advice and or misidentifying plants.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Raymond Rigolo August 2, 01:00

    Would you please send a copy of the free copy of The Medicinal Plant Guide thank you Raymond Rigolo 16402 Framingham Circle Pflugerville, Texas thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Millie August 3, 12:51

    Would please send me a copy of the free Medicinal Plant Guide to: Milagrosa Lopez, Urb. Tropical Beach, 62 Calle D, Naguabo PR 00718-2712, thank you very much.

    Reply to this comment
  4. jimbow August 3, 19:53

    could someone build a fence of this plant, how soon does the blisters show up?

    Reply to this comment
    • elmo April 28, 02:21

      i thought the Same; mixed in with wild Bradford pear(2″ thorns), more disabling than razor wire..A GOOD addition if you can control it’s spread….(though ive Yet to encounter it)..

      Reply to this comment
    • Amaria June 8, 15:47

      The bugs that like the flowers such as bees would pollinate other plants, and they would grow more. Also, the wind could blow seeds that are in the flowers

      Reply to this comment
  5. Jaffa August 4, 11:54

    Good comments and good information too. However, you stated earlier “avoid it”, and teach your youngsters how to ID the plant and what to do if affected by it.

    But please stop the knee jerk reaction of destroy and Eradicate. That’s so USA! It’s got it’s place in the wilds, so leave it be. Educate, not eradicate.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Brad August 4, 12:09

    Would you please send a copy of the free copy of The Medicinal Plant Guide to: 21323 Hadrian Drive, Katy TX 77449, thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Miss Donna August 8, 22:30

    I’ve never seen worse blisters anywhere than the pictures in this article! Fortunately my area in MA. does not have this plant, that I know of. Sure looks harmless. I have a weed in my yard that seems to only “poison” me. It’s called a “Day Flower”. Long, tall, green and spindly. Around this time of the year (August) it gets pretty blue little flowers… that’s the time of danger!!! After 9 days of blisters coming out all over my body, including areas that had no contact with the plant, it finally seems to be subsiding. Whew!! I’m safe as long as there are no flowers.

    Reply to this comment
  8. anon August 11, 04:20

    there are many of these plants in kareila part of Russia, so many, the farmers just leave them or tractor them down, we are warned not to touch these plants, now we see why, the plants run all along the forest highways…

    Reply to this comment
    • Donald February 10, 15:13

      Hi, it is good to know bro. And to learn thing of how people done thing before, but hope the prepper info never is needed, hope all in the world keep these thing in their hearts! donaldbergsr@nc.rr.com I just like reading and keeping his info in mind, and pray it is never needed. I commented as as see your in Russia, I’m in the USA, peace and joy ! Donald

      Reply to this comment
  9. Sassy September 5, 18:33

    Id like to know about all poisonous plants.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Helen September 5, 22:35

    If you are really mailing out those medicinal plant guides I would be grateful to have one also, thank you. Helen Jones, 15012 Jacks Pond Rd. Austin, TX 78728

    Reply to this comment
  11. Mark September 6, 14:26

    How about a better picture of it genius

    Reply to this comment
  12. Katie September 6, 15:27

    Is this plant grown all over the country or in just certain places? It would be helpful to know where to find this. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  13. elmo April 28, 02:14

    RI./NH/Me/Vt/CT/Mass/Va/nola /Wisc… i may be immune or the plant i KNOW of that name isnt YOUR “import”?? NEVER trust “google”, or A book..RESEARCH the HELL out of it ! Find a Witness who can SHOW you!!!.(what is the Poison? p.oak, p.ivy, p.sumac, w/in 4 hours, wash with ammonia or lye soap& you probably wont react/ the lye mixes with the oil & washes away..THANKS.I will be researching..58years in the wood/field..etc,& ill never learn it all..(WIKIPEDIA, made-up “truth”?? ive seen PIX of “Bigfoot”,too)..WHERE did this originate? Eastern Europe? Ithanks again.

    Reply to this comment
    • adirondacki anne March 18, 15:10

      Is lye soap the same as the old fashioned “yellow soap” that my grandmother had us use if we got into poison ivy? I think (but may be wrong) that it also said Fels Napha on the label.

      Reply to this comment
  14. liz May 13, 03:55

    If pictures of these plants and of other important information is presented on playing cards they could be a valuable method of instruction.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Grampa June 8, 14:27

    This plant has sprang up in many nations where it hasn’t been before. My question is why? It clearly has been planted with the intent to do harm. Northern Ireland. an island isolated with a wind direction it doesn’t even have mosquitoes. The thought that the seeds are carried on the wind is false. This plant is an assault and should be treated as such. The solution for my cousins was to burn the plant with flame throwers on the ground with the ground subject to a burn again in the spring The dirt turned and treated with fire many times for two years. only then did they rid the area of the hog weed.

    Reply to this comment
    • Amaria June 8, 15:49

      There could have been someone that carried a seed as a joke, or perhaps an animal had a seed on it’s fur and brought it to other regions

      Reply to this comment
  16. Dolphincat June 8, 15:32

    Good information. Thank you for sharing. If book is still available, please send to 703 NW Midland Ave. Grants Pass, OR. 97526 or email to cmcdolphin@gmail

    Reply to this comment
  17. Ditto June 8, 16:14

    I’m glad to see this information; we have ‘hogweed’ here, but not the giant version. I Hope!!! Would like to have your book if it is still available. Thank you. CDS

    Reply to this comment
  18. Mike June 24, 14:02

    I’ve had it for the 4th year now. I live in Wilsonville, Al. It started at my barn 4 years ago. We cut it with machetes and ax. It was higher that the tin roof. It caused blisters and burning above glove line. I finally got rid of that but it has come up in 2 other places in the pasture. I sprayed it with herbicide that would not hurt horses when it first starts. It seems to grow very fast. I had never seen it before 4 years ago. Now I see it everywhere.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Grampa December 21, 22:58

    how does this spread? I never seen this growing up in Michigan or Canada. I have relatives in Ireland that had contact with it. is it spread intentionally? This is the perfect terror item. easy to import and imposable to detect…….Grampa

    Reply to this comment
  20. dweiss April 9, 05:28

    do goats eat this (with impunity) as they do with poison ivy?

    Reply to this comment
  21. Evan July 11, 21:20

    Looks like a big head of cauliflower (at least that’s how I’ll remember it)

    Reply to this comment
  22. John Redman November 1, 16:21

    The danger comes AFTER exposure to UV light. It has an equally dangerous cousin, widespread in the state of Vermont, USA, Blisterweed/Wild Parsnip/Cow Parsnip. It is much smaller, has yellow-green flower heads and loves disturbed soil like roadsides and ditches. Lots in PA, NY, NJ and MD. For some reason (I think political) it is not a federally reportable weed like Hogweed but, boy, can it do the same damage. These blisters can take years to heal, if ever, and can kill. Seeds are viable for 7 years, so, attack with vinegar/soap early and revisit yearly, folks, if on your patch.

    Reply to this comment
    • sunsets April 17, 11:55

      This is ONLY to those sensitive to wild parsnip.
      I for one have no problem even in sunlight. Hog weed on the otherhand affects everyone and is identified differently and MUCH LARGER!

      Reply to this comment
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