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Heracleum mantegazzianum, better known as Giant Hogweed, is part of the carrot family and originates from Georgia and Southern Russia. This attractive but dangerous noxious plant was brought over to the UK in the nineteenth century as an ornamental plant. It can grow up to an impressive 10ft in the summer.
Today, Giant Hogweed is listed as an invasive plant under Environmental Protection Act 1990. The plant contains toxic sap and poses a serious risk to the public and environment.
After escaping cultivation in the early 1800s, Giant hogweed very quickly spread throughout Britain. Giant Hogweed favours damp conditions and will most likely to be found next to a fresh source of water. The most common places to find Giant Hogweed today include rivers, stream banks, railway lines & wastelands.
Giant Hogweed plants produce up to 50,000 readily germinated seeds which naturally spread with the wind to nearby locations. Water banks and rivers help the seeds travel further afield to invade new areas. However, it is not just nature that helps Giant Hogweed get around. A common issue today is people collecting hogweed seeds and re-planting them.
Giant Hogweed contains a phototoxic sap which can cause painful blisters and skin irritation, even with the slightest contact. In more severe cases it can cause blindness. For images, case studies and advice on blisters from Giant Hogweed – visit our dedicated page:
It’s not just humans though that can find Giant Hogweed a pain. Find out how Giant Hogweed affects other plants and what the Environmental Agency have to say here:
Environment Agency on Giant Hogweed
When it comes to identifying Giant Hogweed there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. Click here for tips on how to spot Giant Hogweed.
For further help and advice on Giant Hogweed contact us on 0800 65 22 678. Alternatively, if you have some images you would like an expert to review or even just to ask a question, use the contact us form.