I don't know if you're planning on leaving the state this summer, but if you travel to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine, don't mess with the Giant Hogweed, a plant apparently designed by Mother Nature, God, Gaia, whomever, as some sort of punishment for something humanity has done:
Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a Federally listed noxious weed. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves.
What to do if you come in contact with giant hogweed:
This plant poses a serious health threat; see your physician if you think you have been burned by giant hogweed. If you think you have giant hogweed on your property, do NOT touch it.
What are the symptoms of exposure to giant hogweed sap?
* Painful blisters that form within 48 hours and become dark and pigmented
* Scars that last up to six years, though typically only last a few months
* Long-term sensitivity to sunlight is common
* Blindness may occur if the sap gets into the eye
Where is the toxic sap located?
* Sap can be located in all parts of the plant but the following have higher concentrations: the lower part of the hollow stems and petioles; the hollow hairs on the plant; the foliage, stem, flower, or fruit (seed).
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation site also mentions the sap can shoot several feet when the stem is broken. This is apparently some sort of super-plant that intends to take over and kill us all. I'd like to know what President Obama is doing about the looming Giant Hogweed Menace. If the other plants find out about this thing, they'll appoint it their leader and it's all over from there.
[HT: The Awl]