Giant Hogweed – Be Aware!

Giant hogweed flowers

I’m sure most of you will recognise the image above. This is Giant Hogweed, it is commonly found in Scotland. During lockdown perhaps you’ve been out for more walks whilst we are unable to get out on the water. However it is important to keep away from Giant Hogweed as it poses a risk of harm. The sap contains a chemical which can cause blisters and burns when contact is made with human skin.

It can be identified by the following:-

  • White flowers with 50 – 150 flower rays clustered into an umbrella shaped flower cluster up to 2.5 feet across.
  • Between 7 and 14 feet tall (depending on growth stage)
  • Huge leaves, incised and deeply lobed up to 5 feet across.
  • Stems are green with extensive purple splotches and prominent coarse white hairs.

The sap from Giant Hogweed can cause blisters / burns which can take up to 48 hours to appear, if the sap contacts human skin. It can leave scars there for your lifetime. If the sap comes in contact with a human eye it can cause blindness.

Giant hogweed burns

As you can see from the above photo these blisters have appeared on this person’s leg.

If you believe you have come into contact with Giant Hogweed it is recommended that you immediately wash the affected area with cold water and soap. Keep the area covered and out of direct sunlight for a minimum of 48 hours because a toxic reaction can begin in as little as 15 minutes and can continue to develop over 48 hours. If unsure contact a pharmacist, GP or hospital.

Be careful out there!

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