Watch out: This wicked weed could blind you

Plants travel across the world often ending up in places they were never meant to be.

Over time, a beautiful beast called Giant Hogweed has been working its way southward. It's being talked about all over the nation for its dangerous properties, such as the ability to cause blindness.

ABC 33/40 spoke with the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Director of Education Brooke McMinn about the dangerous plant species.

"As far as we know it has not been documented further south than Virginia," said McMinn.

However, it has been reported in North Carolina.

"We're safe for now," said McMinn.

But McMinn warns of a poisonous lookalike that could leave you with a burn: hemlock.

McMinn says even Poison Ivy can be more dangerous than some realize.

"When you get that on your hand, you don't realize it, you start eating some food and now you have that oil in your mouth and in your throat," said Mcminn, whose friend was recently hospitalized because of it.

Luckily, you have about 30 to 45 minutes to wash it off your skin before its effects take hold, McMinn says.

As far as Giant Hogweed eventually making it to the state, McMinn believes it is likely.

"It gets a hold pretty quickly and can spread pretty readily," said McMinn.

If you do come across anything you think could be Giant Hogweed, McMinn says to contact your local cooperative extension office immediately.

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