‘Extremely toxic’ plant can cause serious burns in sunshine

East Sussex residents are being warned to watch out for an extremely toxic plant which could cause serious burns in the sunshine.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 2:09 pm

East Sussex residents are being warned to watch out for an extremely toxic plant which could cause serious burns in the sunshine.

Over the years a number of children, as well as adults, have reported injuries after coming into contact with the invasive Giant Hogweed.

Now, as the summer holidays take hold, the Property Care Association (PCA) is urging vigilance to help protect against injury.

Giant Hogweed

Dr Peter Fitzsimons, technical manager of the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group, said, “Giant Hogweed’s sap is extremely toxic to the skin in sunlight, making it a danger to public health.

“Youngsters are more likely to come into contact with the plant during the summertime and the mix of warm weather and rain has provided good conditions for the weed to take hold this year.

“Giant Hogweed is also spreading across a wider area, meaning that people are more likely to encounter it.

“If anyone comes into contact with any part of the plant, followed by exposure to sunlight, they can sustain severe blistering to the skin and discomfort, and this reaction can recur for many years.”

Giant Hogweed can produce up to 30,000 to 50,000 seeds, which can survive in the soil for a number of years.

The invasive weed is capable of growing to a height of up to five metres.

Dr Fitzsimons added, “The general public, as well as local authorities, statutory agencies and landowners on whose property people can come into contact with the plant, should be aware of the risks and Giant Hogweed needs to be controlled and managed professionally.”