This is not a typical photography post, but I wanted to send out a warning and make sure
everyone is aware of the potential danger of this plant. I figured my blog would be a good place to start.
I have been trying to figure out what happened to my lip for days.
My aunt told me about this plant called “Giant Hogweed” and now I think I have put it all together. Thanks Pat!
Last weekend, I rode the Seattle to Portland bikeride, and thought that I had severely sun burned my lower lip.
It seemed like a pretty intense burn, and I thought it was odd that none of the skin on my face surrounding my
lip was burned at all.
What I think happened to me was that I may have come into contact with the sap from the giant hogweed when I
went into the bushes. Apparently if you come into contact with the sap from this plant, it can cause rashes,
swelling, blisters, scarring, and even blindness if you were to rub your eye!! The poison in the plant is
photosensitive and activated by sunlight. A few different times throughout the ride, I had to use the restroom
before the designated rest stops, so I went in the bushes. I parted the bushes & weeds with my hands to walk
through more easily. Later, I applied chapstick with my finger. I specifically remember that when I did that, my
lip really stung, but I just thought it was getting sunburned. So, riding for 2 days straight in the direct sunlight,
with non-spf chapstick (I’m an idiot!) probably attracting more light because it was shiny, PLUS potentially having
the toxins from the giant hogweed plant on my lip, resulted in me waking up the next morning with my lip swollen
probably 3 or 4 times the normal size. When I was researching this plant, it did say that it takes 24 to 48 hours
for a reaction. Anyway, as you can see from the photos of my face, I woke up horrified!!
There’s tons of information about this plant online, here is an article I found:
And this one is about the actual effect of the plant on skin:
I totally hesitated posting the photos below. I hate looking at them, they are really embarassing!
However, when I thought about the fact that someone could easily go blind JUST from touching the sap from
this plant and then rubbing their eye, I really wanted to get the word out there because these plants are all over the place!
So, please share this post! They are really beautiful flowers, and you wouldn’t think they would be so terrible.
Again, I am not 100% sure that this was the reason for my lip swelling, but I certainly suspect the giant hogweed plant!