Backyard Weed Growing in Hudson Valley Burns Skin ‘For Years’
The New York State DEC is warning Hudson Valley residents not to touch this backyard weed under any circumstances.
Just brushing against this toxic plant can cause severe burns in just 24 to 48 hours. It can also discolor your skin and increase your sensitivity to sunlight that could leave you vulnerable to skin burns for years.
According to the DEC, the wild parsnip plant is growing all over the Hudson Valley and many unsuspecting residents are at danger of being exposed to its toxic sap. The plant takes different forms as it grows, making it hard to identify.
This dangerous weed can grow up to 5 feet tall and has hollow, grooved stems that are smooth and hairless. The plant's leaves are described as looking like "large celery leaves." The plant blooms in late May or June, sprouting small, yellow flowers that are clustered together. The flowers pictured above last throughout most of the summer.
This weed is spread throughout the entire Hudson Valley. What makes it so dangerous to humans is the fact that its sap contains chemicals called furanocoumarins. These chemicals make your skin very sensitive to ultraviolet light, which can cause severe burns and blisters.
DEC officials say that identifying the plant is very important. Once you know you have wild parsnip in your yard you should never touch it with bare skin. When removing the plant you should wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots and eye protection. The use of waterproof materials is suggested to keep the sap away from your body.
If you do happen to come in contact with the toxic sap, experts suggest scrubbing with soap and water and covering the affected area until you can be seen by a doctor.
For more information on wild parsnip, you can find more information about this plant on the DEC's website.
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