Dangerous Invasive Plant Species Discovered in Virginia
VIRGINIA – June 18, 2018
Officials in Virginia are warning residents to be on the lookout after an invasive plant was found Tuesday in the northern part of the state that can cause third-degree burns and even permanent blindness.
The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech said in a Facebook post that 30 giant hogweed plants were discovered in Clarke County, located between Winchester and Leesburg.
So far, there has been just one confirmed sighting of Giant Hogweed — in Clarke County, Virginia,
According to CBS, this dangerous plant grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Sighting of invasive alien plants such as Giant Hogweed gives increasing cause for concern. Following on from the problems caused by such invasive weeds in most other continents, Europe too is now beset by alien species that are having severe negative impacts on a variety of ecosystems. Giant Hogweed and other invasive exotic plants are leading to a reduction in local plant biodiversity. Additionally, they can cause considerable economic damage, sometimes also presenting a health hazard to humans. No universal tool exists that can stop these invasive plants, reduce their impact or prevent future invasions.
"It may be possible for hogweed seeds to remain viable in the soil for 15 years," the New York Department of Environmental Conservation said. "For this reason, long-term monitoring is very important. Check the site and surrounding areas for the next several years for the emergence of any hogweed seedlings or regrowth from previous year's plants."