What does Giant Hogweed look like?
The plant has a life span to between 5 – 7 years yet only flowers in its final year. This happens in late spring to mid-summer. The tiny white flowers are clustered in an umbrella shaped head, which can span 80cm (31 inches). A single plant can produce between 1,500 to 100,000 seeds, which means that it will spread very quickly. Once the seeds have been disbursed the plant will die.
Since the Giant Hogweed only flowers in the twilight of its life identification is often made by looking at the stems.
The stems are purplish red in colour with raised bumps or nodules. You can see large course white hairs on the base of each leaf stalk.
Seeds may remain dormant in the soil around the plant for several years and may propagate at any time. Therefore a sustained management plan is required.
Giant Hogweed is harmful
The sap found in the stems and leaves of the Giant Hogweed contains chemical irritants, which cause burning when exposed to ultra violet light. The reaction depends on the individuals sensitivity, but after about 24 hours the skin will initially redden and then after a couple of days will become inflamed and blister. After one week there is often an unusual darkening of the skin, which can last several months. The affected area can remain sensitive to sunlight for some years to come.
Blistering should be treated in the same way as a burn and medical advice should be sought in extreme cases.
Management of Giant Hogweed
Giant Hogweed needs to be treated and managed carefully.
The management of Giant Hogweed must be dealt with by a suitably experienced and qualified team.
Because Giant Hogweed seeds may remain dormant in the soil around the plant for several years and may propagate at any time it is important to have a management plan in place to prevent and contain the regrowth.
If you have a suspicion that Giant Hogweed is growing on your site please give us a call and we will verify this for you and give you honest and clear advice in the next steps you need to take.
Call Connick Ground Care on 0800 975 4535 or email us.