Noxious weed alert: Giant hogweed spotted in Virginia

June 18, 2018

BERRYVILLE, Va. (AP) — Giant hogweed, an invasive plant that can produce severe burns and blisters, has been spotted for the first time in Virginia.

Mark Sutphin, an agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension, said Monday the weed’s presence was confirmed in Berryville several days ago. He said a previous property owner planted it as an ornamental.

Debra Martin, a program manager with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said officials are formulating a plan to respond to the discovery.

Since the discovery others have reported giant hogweed sightings, but Martin said the Berryville plant is the only confirmed sighting. The plant can be confused with cow parsnip, which is native to Virginia.

Giant hogweed is one of three plants defined in Virginia as a Tier 1 noxious weed and is heavily regulated.

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