If You See This Plant, Walk Away FAST!


It seems these days, killer-plant movies aren’t
really in vogue, but in the past, those sometimes-ridiculous films were all the rage. Think of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers?’
or ‘Swamp Thing?’ And who could forget ‘Attack of the Killer
Tomatoes’ and the classic, ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ While plants certainly don’t invade neighborhoods
and gorge themselves on American families, some plants are indeed deadly. One is called Deadly Nightshade, and its delicious-looking
berries, a plant that contains atropine and scopolamine, which, if ingested, can leave
you hallucinating, delirious, paralyzed, and finally dead. Eat a handful of Castor Beans or drink the
milk from a cow that’s eaten some White Snakeroot, and you could also end up dead,
just as Abraham Lincoln’s mother did. Yep, true story. But today, we’ll look at something you shouldn’t
even go near, in this episode of the Infographics Show, This Plant Will Cause You 2nd Degree
Burns. The plant in question, the Giant Hogweed,
has lately been making headlines in both the British and American media. Apparently, because of the heatwave in the
UK, it’s been spreading and causing havoc, and in the U.S., there have been many reports
about authorities trying to stem the growth of the toxic weed. The plant comes from Asia, but has spread
around Europe, the USA, and Canada. Before we get into what this plant is and
why it causes humans so much pain, we will give you some examples of people that have
run into the hogweed and were left looking like someone threw boiling water on them. Later we’ll also tell you how to avoid that
happening, and what to do if you do get stung by this beast of a plant. In 2018, during a terrible heatwave in the
UK, the British press ran a story about a Welsh farmer that almost lost his leg because
he’d brushed-up against a Giant Hogweed. The Express newspaper wrote, “He has undergone
multiple emergency operations, including one surgery to open his leg from the knee cap
to the ankle bone.” That’s why it’s called by the sometimes-hyperbolic
British tabloid media, “The Most Dangerous Plant in Britain.” You can do a quick Google images search for
this plant, and those photos of blisters might put you off your dinner. It seems the plant enjoys the British countryside,
with other recent reports talking about boys and girls being hospitalized and left permanently
scarred after coming into contact with the plant. The British media says that it grows mostly
along riverbanks, wasteland, and in public parks. The BBC writes that it was introduced to the
UK back in 1893 by some idiot that liked the look of it and had it for decorative purposes. After that, we are told the plant, “escaped
from domestication.” Ok, you get the picture, this is one mean
plant. But what makes it so dangerous? The department of environmental conservation
for New York state has explained why a brush with Giant Hogweed can lead to you getting
burned. This is because the sap in the plant contains
something called photosensitizing furanocoumarins. Some plants produce these furanocoumarins
to repel predators such as insects or mammals. But when these chemicals hit the skin and
interact with sunlight, you can get phytophotodermatitis. Any part of the plant can contain this sap,
so whatever you do, don’t try and chop one down or hit it with a weedwacker. This bad reaction starts like a bruise, then
gets red, and then can turn into horrific blisters. The redness, pain and swelling can last a
couple of weeks, and if you’re really unlucky, your injury could become infected like that
farmer from Wales. The scars after the initial bad reaction can
last months or even years. Some reports say they can be permanent. It gets worse, too. If you get this sap in your eyes, you could
be blinded forever, though there has been a Giant Hogweed problem in the U.S. for over
a decade, and thankfully there haven’t been any reports of blindness. In 2018, Time magazine said this plant is
being found in parts of the USA where it hasn’t been seen before. “It’s a dangerous plant but I’m not
overly concerned about it. This seems to be an isolated incident,”
said a professor at Virginia Tech, close to where the unwanted beast had been discovered. Virginia now joins Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Washington, and
Oregon, as states where Giant Hogweed grows. Another thing that can happen to you, is that
the area where you get burned can become very sensitive to sunlight for a long time after. One young girl in the UK was told that if
sunlight ever hit the scars she had, they would re-blister on exposure. She was told to wear sunblock on those areas
forever. You should see what happened to that 17-year
old kid in Virginia; it looks pretty darn awful as he took some hits to the face after
he had tried to chop down a Giant Hogweed while doing some landscaping. Not only will he have scars on his face that
may last a long time, but he’ll have to be very careful about exposing that part of
his face to the sun for the rest of his life. “I thought it was just a little bit of skin
at first, but then big chunks of my face were falling off,” he told the press. He was rushed to hospital and treated for
second and third-degree burns. So, how can you avoid the Giant Hogweed, aka,
Heracleum Mantegazzianum. As you know by the name, it can grow to a
great height, reaching as high as 18 feet (5.4 meters). It has a thick, hairy, purple-spotted stem
and its flowers are white. Its leaves are sharp, kind of spiky-looking,
like bat wings. If you see it, report it to the authorities,
and they will likely do something about it. You see, this thing spreads like wildfire-
pardon the pun- as it produces between 20,000 and 50,000 seeds a year that fall as far as
30 feet (9.1 meters) from the plant and can be taken farther away by wind or water. Given some time, your favorite public park
could become infested with these horrible plants, and as happened in Manchester, UK,
a fun day out for the kids can turn into a nightmare. Ok, so first of all, whether you are in the
UK or the U.S., you should report it. But let’s say you’ve already brushed-up
against the hogweed, what to do next? The first thing is to run cold water on the
reddening area and wash it with soap. The quicker you can do this, the better. If you get sap in the eyes, rinse them with
cold water and wear sunglasses. Keep any affected area away from sunlight. It’s likely if you had the red reaction,
you will get some kind of blistering too. Applying topical steroids to that area can
help with the pain. If it starts to look bad, head for the hospital. So, have you ever come across a Giant Hogweed? What’s the worst reaction you’ve ever
had to a dangerous plant? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called What Is The Deadliest Substance On Earth? Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 comments

  1. And until this day religious people still argue this world is so perfectly fit for human (us) which mean there must a creator.

  2. But i’ve seen hogweed.. i’ve touched it and I was fine? Liek dude what? Its everywhereee. I mean my mum tried to pick it.. and she got a couple tiny blisters.. but what

  3. There some in the backyard i didint know i can get burn and i keep picking and touching them because they are pretty

  4. some extra notes on this hog weed there is another plant that looks just like it and touching it will not harm you at lest in all the cases i had i dont know what it is called so be extra careful if you know what plant i am talking about gets mixed in with the hog weed edit sound the names of the plants Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

    leaves pinnate and divided repeatedly having a feathery appearence
    stems green with soft hairs, no purple
    blooms June through August
    inflorescence composed of many small white flowers in flat umbels no more than 10-15 cm in diameter
    grows up to 1 m high
    Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)

    opposite, pinnate leaves, leaflets have serrated edges
    stems woody, opposite branching
    inflorescence composed of many small white flowers in terminal cymes that may be flat topped or not

    Angelica (Angelica spp.)

    compound leaves have dozens of small leaflets
    stems may be smooth or hairy, green or reddish, has enlarged leaf sheaths
    inflorescence is a large compound umbel composed of small white to greenish flowers
    plants can grow to about 2 m high
    Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

    leaves broader and less serrated (toothed) than giant hogweed
    leaves are not shiny, has large leaf sheaths
    stems are usually green but lower portions can be purple but markings are not blotches, steaks or spots
    flower stalks and stems have soft hairs, not stiff hairs like giant hogweed
    usually blooms in July earlier than giant hogweed
    the inflorescence is composed of many small white flowers in a flat umbel,
    flower heads can be 20-30 cm in diameter, less than one quarter the size of giant hogweed
    can cause phytophotodermatitis similar to giant hogweed
    Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

    compound pinnate leaves, leaflets are lobed and/or serrated
    stems are green with longitudinal ridges
    inflorescence is an umbel of small yellow flowers
    can grow to about 1.5 m
    can cause phytophotodermatitis similar to giant hogweed but usually less severe

  5. i have actually been "burned" by this plant in Norway here we call it Tromsø palme and i got what looked like a flesh wound almost and there is only one way you won't get a scar from it and that is a 1 cm thick layer of sunscreen hurt like hell didn't even see it when i and one other person got near it but we had been warned.

  6. I’ve known that since kindergarten. They told us not to touch them, because there was so many at our kindergarten, my friend ended up touching it. So he went to the hospital 🙁

  7. My local park defeated them with sheep, who eat them quickly. They came last year. And they have reduced the Hogweed by about 75%.

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