When you’re outside, look out for the Giant Hogweed, an invasive weed that is infecting gardens and can cause blisters, burns with permanent scars, or even blindness. The Giant Hogweed’s sap consists of photosensitive chemicals that turn toxic when exposed to sunlight. The weed is found predominantly in moist areas and grows to be as much as six metres tall with a white flower head. Currently, local health officials are teaming up with biologists in an effort to control this weed, officially known as the Heracleum mantegazzianum, reported the Province.
The Giant Hogweed is most often found next to roadsides, ditch-lines, river banks, creeks and agricultural areas. It is found across the continent. The Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia states that the plant has recently been found in southern Vancouver Island, the lower mainland, Squamish and the Fraser Valley. Reports of the Giant Hogweed are on the rise.
If you happen to spot the Giant Hogweed, please report it to your provincial weeds hotline – in BC, it’s at 1-888-WEEDSBC. Hogweed clearing should be done by an expert wearing waterproof gloves, a rubber raincoat and pants and eye protection, reports the Toronto Sun.
The Giant Hogweed is prolific – in a single season a healthy plant can produce as many as 100,000 seeds. The seeds get spread around through wind and water, and the plant is crowding out native plants.
Invasive Weeds are a problem everywhere, it seems. California just had their annual “Invasive Weed Awareness Week”. Groups such as the Lake County Weed Management Area hosted various events including the Area’s fifth annual invasive weeds tour, summarized by Lake County News. The tour planned to discuss weeds including the Arundo donax, tree of heaven, water primrose, tamarisk, and the skeleton weed, and various other aquatic weeds.