Don't let Giant Hogweed put you off great outdoors, say Warks experts - The Rugby Observer
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Don't let Giant Hogweed put you off great outdoors, say Warks experts

Rugby Editorial 7th Aug, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

GIANT Hogweed is not a threat to those enjoying the Warwickshire countryside.

So say wildlife chiefs in the county following alarming national headlines warning of the danger posed by the native south west Asian plant – which can cause skin to blister and burn if exposed to the sap.

In recently reported cases of those who have come into contact with Giant Hogweed, blisters and burns were not apparent until the following day when the victim’s skin was exposed to UV rays.

But Steven Cheshire from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said it was just a case of being careful when out and about in the countryside.

He told The Observer: “We do not have much of a problem in Warwickshire. It is widespread but rarely takes over large areas.

“It has occurred on our nature reserves in the past, and no doubt there will be some present on a reserve or two this year, and where there has been a potential issue of visitors coming in direct contact with it, it has been removed.

“When you see Giant Hogweed in flower, you will know because its huge – sometimes seven of eight foot tall.

“It tends to grow in areas of long grass, where it is not easy to venture, although there will always be occasional plants growing next to footpaths.

“Just as you wouldn’t pass your hand through a patch of stinging nettles, you should avoid touching Giant Hogweed or plants that look like it.”

Mr Cheshire added it important for people not to confuse the plant with the smaller UK native hogweed which is harmless and which is vital for pollinating insects in late summer.

Safe and native to the UK – Hogweed. Photo by Anemone Projectors (Creative Commons License)

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