Virginia teen suffers third-degree burns from Giant Hogweed plant

Report: Va. Tech Freshman Treated for Giant Hogweed Burns

Report: Va. Tech Freshman Treated for Giant Hogweed Burns

Alex Childress, 17, of Virginia, was working a landscaping job near Spotsylvania when he first felt the intense burns, which he originally brushed off as strong sunburn.

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

In Virginia, giant hogweed is classified as a Tier 1 noxious weed, requiring that "no person shall move, transport, deliver, ship, or offer for shipment into or within the Commonwealth any noxious weed" without a permit.

According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, giant hogweed, or Heracleum mantegazzianum, is a federally listed noxious weed that can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness.

The teenager was first sent to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, but doctors determined his injuries could best be treated at the Burn Center at VCU Medical Center.

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

Mr Childress said his son had overcome a bad football injury to become successful in track and wrestling at Spotsylvania High School. However, the teen's injuries may derail those plans. "But that may have to be deferred at this point until Alex can get a medical waiver from his doctor as far as physical activity".

The plant has a flowering head with tiny white flowers, with a hollow stem with a diameter of 2 inches to 4 inches.

With the presence of the giant hogweed plant in Virginia, officials asked anyone who spotted one of these plants to file an invasive species report.

The Childress' hoped others can learn from their son's injuries to be on the lookout for this invasive plant. This will cause the plant's sap to splatter and spread quickly.