Teen Burns Face, Arms From Giant Hogweed Plant

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 14, 2018

Alex's mother, a nurse at VCU Medical Center, returned home and determined the 17-year-old's injuries were 2nd to 3rd-degree burns that needed immediate medical attention. When Childress came home from his landscaping job, he thought he must've had a severe sunburn, and when he started to take a shower, "the skin on his face was basically peeling away and peeling off", his father told WTVR, a local CBS affiliate.

A Virginia teenager sustained third-degree burns after coming into contact with sap from a giant hogweed plant.

According to North Carolina State University, giant hogweed is a Class "A" North Carolina noxious weed and is only found in Watauga County. Giant hogweed exudes a sap that can cause burns, blisters and blindness.

"It's a traumatic experience, but Alex is a tough kid", his father said.

Mr Childress said his son had overcome a bad football injury to become successful in track and wrestling at Spotsylvania High School.

Alex was given a full-ride scholarship to Virginia Tech with plans to enroll in the Corps of Cadets in the fall.

"He was supposed to move-in this August", Mr Childress said.

The NYDEC also offers advice on how to control giant hogweed as the toxic plant can be controlled manually, mechanically, and with herbicides. It can grow up to 14 feet, deeply shading areas and inhibiting the growth of native species. The plants have been spotted across Virginia this summer.

Jordan Metzgar is a curator with Virginia Tech's Massey Herbarium.

The plant has large compound leaves that can grow up to 5 feet wide and white flower heads that can grow up to 2 1/2 feet in diameter.

The Childress' hoped others can learn from their son's injuries to be on the lookout for this invasive plant.

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