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Dangerous weed that can cause blindness, severe burns found in several states

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MIAMI – Officials now say a dangerous invasive plant that can cause blindness or severe burns by simply touching its sap has been found in multiple states in the northeast and southeast U.S.

Several warnings have been issued over the Giant Hogweed, with people being told to stay away and not touch the plant. Virginia is the latest state where the plant has been discovered.

Touching the sap by breaking the stem or brushing against the plant's bristles can lead to third-degree burns. Blindness can occur if the sap gets into a person's eye.

The Business Insider reports doctors urge those who have come in contact with a Giant Hogweed to wash affected areas immediately with soap and cold water, and to see a physician. 

Giant Hogweed was reportedly brought to the U.S. from the Caucasus region in the 20th century as an ornamental plant.

List of states where Giant Hogweed has been found:

  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Those who do not live in states where Giant Hogweed is found are being told to use caution if on vacation in the areas.

The hogweed with its white flower heads can grow up to 14 feet tall and over two feet in diameter.