CLARK COUNTY, WA (KPTV) - Clark County Public Works is warning people about a potentially dangerous plant.

An infestation of giant hogweed has hit the Salmon Creek area, specifically between Northeast 72nd Avenue and 182nd Avenue.

Giant hogweed can grow 10 to 15 feet tall and the leaves can be 3 to 5 feet wide. It has dark reddish-purple stems and leaf stalks.

Clark County Public Works is warning people to not touch the plant. It can cause serious blisters and potentially permanent scarring.

The sap on the plant has a phototoxin that makes skin hypersensitive to sunlight.

The county released a graphic image to show just how dangerous the plant can be to a person’s skin. Direct contact with eyes can also result in blindness.

“It is very dangerous, especially to children who might not know about that. And sometimes they use the stem as a little telescope and put it right up to their eye, that’s happened before,” said Justin Collell, coordinator for the Clark County Noxious Weed Control Board.

Complicating matters is another plant called cow parsnip that looks a lot like giant hogweed. County workers say if you aren’t sure or if you believe you have found giant hogweed, contact them at weed.board@clark.wa.gov.

For more, go to clark.wa.gov/public-works/giant-hogweed.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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