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DNR Warns About Dangerous Plant

Last updated on Thursday, June 20, 2013

(UNDATED) - Department of Natural Resource officials are warning residents about a dangerous plant.

Giant Hogweed isn't deadly but it can cause blindness and severe skin irritation just from touching it.

DNR Entomologist Philip Marshall says officials are trying to get rid of the weed but that has been difficult because there are so many plants that look like it.

Marshall says the oil from the plant, plus exposing your skin to the sunlight after touching the plant can cause blistering. The sap of the weed contains toxins that cause photo-dermatitis, a skin reaction to ultraviolet rays.

So far, authorities have only found the plant in northern Indiana's St. Joseph County and Kosciusko County. But Marshal says they've also been discovered near railroad tracks.

The plant, which is normally recognizable by its height and large white flowers, doesn't blend in.

If you do touch the plant, Marshall says to flush the area with water as soon as possible.

Marshal says if you see something that you suspect may be giant hogweed, call the DNR hotline at 1-866-NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684).

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