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Touching This Plant Can Burn, Blister, Even Blind You
Mysterious burn on teen's face caused by brush with toxic plant(CCSS Level: Grade 7, Words: 461)
Jul 17, 2018 Science & Technology
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As if poison ivy, mosquitoes and sunburn weren't enough, it turns out that at least some of us are having to dodge a giant plant that can burn your skin when it's exposed to the sun and can even make you blind. It's called giant hogweed, and it's nasty.

Alex Childress went to his parents for help with what he thought was a severe sunburn after working outside at his summer landscaping job. But the real cause of the painful first and second-degree burns suffered by the 17-year-old from Spotsylvania, Virginia, turned out to be something a little more unusual.

He came across what he thought was a large weed and took a pair of loppers to chop it down. The plant briefly brushed across his face and arm, and he picked the plant up to discard it in the woods. "We were working outside a factory and I snipped down a bush and it fell and touched my face, I didn't pay any mind to it because I do it all the time," Childress said.

"The top layer of skin on the left side of his face basically was gone and appeared to be like a really bad burn that had already peeled," the boy's father Justin said.

Childress' mother, Chrissy Childress, is a nurse at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Centre and suspected the plant might be the irritant. Her son was transferred to the burn unit. Once there, he was instructed to shower for an hour and a half. He stayed in an unlit hospital room for two days, as the plant is phytotoxic, meaning it gets more potent when exposed to ultraviolet rays or sunlight. He has since been discharged from the hospital.

Facts about the plant...
The plant is native to the Caucasus mountains in the country of Georgia and parts of southwest Asia.

Researchers believe the species was planted in the United States intentionally a few decades ago, according to spokeswoman Elaine Lidholm of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It has since been been discovered in several states.

"We're just now realising it's been here for some time," Lidholm said.

Giant hogweed is classified by the agency as a noxious weed, a type of plant that outgrows native species and often took over their habitats. The seeds can lie dormant for several years, but Lidholm said a cooler, longer spring caused its increased activity.

There have been confirmed sightings of giant hogweed in three Virginia counties now. The plant can grow as a high as 5 metres (15 feet) and white flowers fan out at the top. The Virginia Department of Agriculture recommends that anyone who thinks they may have spotted a plant leave it alone and contact the agency.

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ac-cor-ding

as said by


v.根据

ag-ri-cul-ture

farming; cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and animals


n.农业

aid

help


n,v.援助

ap-peared

be seen or became noticeable


v.出现

ba-sic

simple, beginner level


adj.基本

blind

not able to see


adj.盲/瞎子

brush  

small bushes and plants 


n.刷子

cult

something really popular amongst a group of people


n.礼拜    

de-cade

a period of ten years    


n.十年/一旬

dis-co-vered

found, uncovered


v.发现    

dor-mant

having normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time; in or as if in a deep sleep


adj.休眠

ex-posed

easily seen, uncovered


v.裸露

fac-to-ry

a building where things are made or produced


n.工厂/厂家

hos-pi-tal

a place to care for sick or hurt people


n.医院

in-crease

growing or becoming greater


n.增加

in-ten-tion

plan or aim


n.意向/打算

mos-qui-toes

a long-legged fly which sucks blood and can pass diseases


n.蚊子

re-search

looking for knowledge


v.调研

re-search-er

person who searches for knowledge


n.研究员

spe-cies

kinds or sorts of animal


n.种类

spring

a material that returns to its shape after pressed or stretched


n.弹簧

suf-fered

experienced something bad


v.受苦

tox-ic

poisonous  


adj.有毒

ul-tra-vi-o-let

the ultraviolet part of the light spectrum


n.紫外线

un-u-su-al

strange, not common, different


adj.异常 / 特别

vi-o-let

a purplish-blue color


n.紫罗兰色