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Giant hogweed next to water

Beware of giant hogweed

Ealing Council is advising residents to keep away from the weed heracleum mantegazzianum, also known as giant hogweed, because its sap can lead to burns and possibly blindness if it gets into your eyes.

The weed, which is typically found near canals and rivers, can grow up to 3m (10ft) tall.

According to the Woodland Trust, giant hogweed is not native to the UK. It originates from the Caucasus Mountains and Central Asia. It was first introduced to the UK as an ornamental in the 19th Century, when it escaped and naturalised in the wild. It is now classed as an invasive species and can be found throughout much of the UK, especially colonising river banks where its seeds are transported by the water.

If you spot a giant hogweed, try not to touch it. It is important you cover your skin up, even if it’s warm and sunny. If you come into contact with it and start to feel that your skin’s tingling or burning, wash any sap away and seek medical assistance immediately.

Ealing Council’s park rangers and volunteers have been removing invasive plants, such as hogweeds, in and around parks, open spaces and rivers so the borough is safe for residents and visitors, as well as a thriving environment for wildlife.

For further information on giant hogweeds, please visit the Royal Horticultural Society website, where you can see pictures to help you identify the weed.

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