Alex Childress, 17, has ended up in a hospital following a run-in with a ‘hogweed plant” in Virginia. The teen received second- and third-degree burns after he came across a large plant Tuesday while working a summer landscaping job.
The plants toxic sap can cause permanent blindness if it gets in a person’s eyes. The sap can also cause blistering and scarring if it gets on bare skin.
Childress was taken to a hospital later that night and transferred to a burn unit. Childress was discharged Thursday. His father, Justin Childress, says his son appears to have a long recovery ahead of him.
Childress set up a fundraising page to help may for medical costs.
“I am not one to ask for help,” he writes on the GoFundme page. “I am always helping other people whenever and wherever I can, but now I am in need of help.”
Last month, giant hogweed wasfor the first time. The plant is found in 10 sates across the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
The plant can grow up to 18 feet tall, has a green stem with bristles and dark red or purple spots, and has a white flower.
It is most commonly found in New England, the Mid-Atlantic region and the Northwest, often growing along streams and rivers and in fields, forests, yards and roadsides, experts say.