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Pungent ‘stinknet’ plant in Arizona forces idyllic picnic area to shut for a month | US News

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A picnic area at a tourist attraction in Arizona has been closed to visitors because of the presence of a pungent plant called stinknet – which smells as lovely as it sounds.

Officials at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument announced on Wednesday the area will be shut until 30 April due to the density of the invasive and noxious winter weed.

Stinknet has pretty yellow blossoms on narrow green stems and can grow more than 0.6m (2ft) tall – but has a potent smell similar to nail polish remover or burnt rubber.

It can cause serious breathing problems as well as severe skin rashes, according to the University of Arizona.

Officials at the attraction in Coolidge are asking visitors not to walk near or step on the flowering weed to avoid spreading it.

They said staff are working on a solution to get the picnic area reopened as soon as possible, but it may take until 1 May.

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The monument showcases the ruins of an ancient desert farming community that includes the preserved Casa Grande, meaning Great House.

The group of structures were built by the Hohokam tribe more than 700 years ago.

Arizona Native Plant Society officials said stinknet explosively spread in Maricopa County during the wet autumn and winter seasons of 2016, 2018 and 2019.

This caused heavy infestations on the northern fringes of Phoenix and Scottsdale along with rapid movement southward to Casa Grande.

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