Hogweed 2018 warning: How to identify dangerous plant that can SERIOUSLY BURN your skin | UK | News

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Toxic plant giant Hogweed, known for its ability to cause horrific blistering to the skin, has taken root throughout the country.

Recent reports have seen a four-year-old boy of Invergowrie, Scotland, receive severe burns after coming into contact with the plant.

Blair MacKenzie was left with painful blistering after walking along a public footpath and brushing against the plant.

The plant has been reported throughout the country, with reports of it growing in full force around Manchester.

How to identify giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed originally hails from Southern Russia and Georgia, and is widely distributed in the wild.

The plant can grow to over 3m (10ft) in height, and appears with thick stems that are blotched with the colour purple.

The flowers of giant Hogweed are white, and held in flat-topped clusters, and all flowers face upwards.

Giant Hogweed flowers can be equally as large as the stems, as the clusters can reach 60cm (2ft) across.

There are currently no government orders in place to ensure that Giant Hogweed is removed from public areas, but local authorities will make concerted efforts to control the population.

However, if someone was to cultivate giant Hogweed, and push its development in the UK, they could receive an Anti-Social Behavioural Order requiring them to remove it.

The species is invasive, meaning that it can take root in gardens and explode in population, much like weeds.

In certain circumstances, local authorities may be able to retain powers to have Hogweed removed from an affected area.

How to remove giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed can be incredibly dangerous to deal with, so it is best left to garden experts to remove, but on a garden scale it can be done by hand.

The Royal Horticultural Society recommends that when trying to control giant Hogweed, you should cover your arms and legs, and wear a face mask when working on or near it.

This is because if it gets in your eyes, the sap from the plant could cause blindness.

The RHS states that it is best to pull up young plants in May, while soil is still soft, and remove it before it sets seed but after it has flowered.

The RHS also recommends that if the Hogweed has reached a considerable height, roots should first be loosened with a fork.

If venturing into getting rid of the plant, you should get rid of cut plant debris, contaminated clothing and tools as they are potentially hazardous.

Any skin that comes into contact with giant Hogweed should be washed immediately.



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