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Giant Hogweed in London – how to deal with the poisonous plant UK News

A TOXIC plant which can cause massive blisters and ulcers if touched has been reported in various parts of London.

An interactive map has been released, allowing people to report sightings of the poisonous plant.

Known as Britain’s most dangerous plant, it has been spotted this year so far, in Wimbledon, Hackney, Ealing, Kingston upon Thames, Stratford, East Ham, Tottenham and a few others which you can see via the site website.

That’s all you need to know about giant hogweed, what it looks like, why it’s dangerous – and what to do if you touch the poisonous sap.

Time series:

What is giant hogweed and is it dangerous?

Giant hogweed, also known by its Latin name Heracleum Mantegazzianum, is native to southern Russia and Georgia.

The plant is part of the Apiaceae family, which includes well-known vegetables and herbs like parsley, carrot, parsnip, and cilantro.

Giant hogweed was introduced to Britain and Europe in the 19th century from the Caucasus Mountains.

The first documented reference to the plant dates back to the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Kew Seed List of 1817, where the seeds of the plant were listed.

The plant itself can reach over 10 feet in height and, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): “most gardeners will want to eradicate it, as it is potentially invasive and the sap can cause severe skin burns. “.

The sap contains a chemical called furocoumarin that makes the skin sensitive to the sun, which can cause nasty blisters. The blistering may even recur over months or even years.

What does giant hogweed look like?

The Woodland Trust describes the appearance of giant hogweed so you can better identify the dangerous plant.

  • rods: the stems are green with purple spots and stiff white hairs. The stems are hollow with ridges and a thick circle of hair at the base of each leaf stem
  • Sheets: the leaves are huge, up to 1.5 m wide and 3 m long, and are often divided into smaller leaflets. The Woodland Trust compares them to rhubarb leaves, with jagged, jagged edges, the underside of the leaf being described as hairy.
  • flowersGiant hogweed flowers appear in June and July, and are small and white and appear in clusters on upward facing “umbrella-like heads”.

Where am I likely to find giant hogweed?

The plant is found throughout the UK, specifically on river banks where the seeds are carried by water.

The ERS also states that areas affected by giant hogweed include “gardens and plots adjacent to infected woodland, health land or common land.”

You can see the distribution of Giant Hogweed reports across the UK on the Plant Tracker website.

You can zoom in to specific areas of the UK to see how many reports of giant hogweed have been reported in certain areas.

How to treat giant hogweed burns?

If you accidentally get hogweed sap on your skin, Healthline says you should wash the area with mild soap and cool water as soon as possible. You should keep the skin covered when outdoors to protect it from the sun.

If a rash or blister begins to form, you should see a doctor. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your reaction.

“Skin irritation detected early can be treated with steroid cream and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, for pain relief,” says Healthline.

“Severe burns might require surgery to graft new skin over the damaged skin.”

Healthline also explains that hogweed sap can damage more than just your skin — if the sap gets into your eyes, you may experience temporary or permanent blindness. Similarly, breathing in sap particles can lead to respiratory problems.

Seeds: Seeds are dry, flattened and oval in shape, nearly 1cm long and tan in color with brown lines

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This notice was published: 2022-03-04 08:48:48

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