Tuesday, 9 September 2008

ABC Wednesday - H

H is for Hogweed, particularly the giant version.





Until quite recently I didn't really know anything about giant Hogweed, so I guess there may be a few other people who don't either.


Giant Hogweed was introduced into this country as a 'filler' for large gardens but has since spread agressively. It is most commonly found along riverbanks and this is where I came across it. Your average Hogweed plant can cause skin rashes but the thing about Giant Hogweed is that it's sap can cause quite serious skin problems.

Giant Hogweed has spread along the river bank where I like to take the kids. Someone had been out there cutting it down before it seeded. My sister managed to brush against one of the severed stalks. Now, we knew that it could cause burning on the skin but didn't realise quite how it worked, so my sister assumed it was a temporary affect and that it would wear off. When she looked it up on the internet we discovered there's a whole 'other story' to this evil weed.

The sap destroys the skin's natural sun protection which means that every time the affected area is exposed to the sun it continues to burn. The area on my sister's hand rapidly developed into blisters even though she began covering the area when we had read up on it.



The blisters in this picture aren't a patch on what my sister had on her hand, I think her's will probably scar.

Can you imagine the implications of children using the stalks as swords or worse still telescopes? The thought horrifies me. I can't believe we aren't more aware of the problem and have even considered asking the head at my kids' school to talk to the kids about it.


For more information (and credit for the photos) visit http://138.253.199.114/hogweed/index.htm


And to join in with ABC Wednesday go here http://abcwednesdayround3.blogspot.com/2008/09/h-is-for.html

16 comments:

Ivar Ivrig said...

Wow, what a giant :-)

dina said...

Good for you, being an anti-hogweed crusader. Sounds like bad stuff. I can't believe it was introduced!
Welcome aboard to ABC Wednesday!

ellen b said...

Yikes, this is good information to know. Those plants are huge...

Berthddu Suit said...

Ivar - Sure is!

Dina - Amazing what people think is a good idea isn't it? I mean it's not even pretty!! Thanks for the welcome :)

Ellen - I couldn't believe that I hadn't really heard about it before, it is becoming a big problem.

Howdy Do said...

Hog weed in a new one for me. I have not heard about it before or even seen it. We do have a kind of weed that used to invade pig pens but it was nothing like this large weed.

I only have one "H" for my post today. I hope you like it. I put it on Canon Pixels

Granny Smith said...

This looks similar (in a giant way) to many wild plants, some edible and others extremely poisonous if ingested, but this is the first one I've heard of that affects the skin. A horrifying tale - but a beautiful picture (the plant, not the blisters!).

Liz said...

Gosh, that is really scary! And it looks like something out of an alien film.

leslie said...

Oh my gosh! I've never heard of it before and I DO believe you need to make others aware of its dangers. I sure hope her hand will be okay!

photowannabe said...

That is a huge plant and an equally huge problem. I hope your sister will recover from the effects.

Kim from Hiraeth said...

I have NEVER heard of such a thing.

What a dangerous plant! I hope your poor sister heals rapidly and completely.

I think that if I lived in your neighborhood, I'd join you in raising awareness about the dangers associated with this plant!

magiceye said...

oh the wicked weed..
thank you for the information.

Bear Naked said...

I have never heard of Hogweed before.
Thank you for your very informative explanation of this plant.

Bear((( )))

me ann my camera said...

Such a huge plant with a huge problem attached to it.

kouji said...

true. the implications seem quite terrible. especially for kids.

marina said...

I felt awe and fear when I saw these gigantic plants!And It proved that it was so as I was reading your post!!!

AphotoAday said...

We have a smaller variety around here -- or at least that's what I think it is...
I'll mind your advice about avoiding the sap...