Giant hogweed warning issued: man left with scarring after touching Britains’ most dangerous plant
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Daniel Logan has been left with potentially lifelong scars after touching giant hogweed, a plant described as Britain’s most dangerous plant. Logan was retrieving a football in Boston Manor Park in West London when he came into contact with the weed.
The scars were caused by the weed’s toxic sap which thrives in areas near canals and rivers. The sap can increase skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and often leads to burns.
Daniel Logan said: "It’s been terrible to be honest. Now I know, it will never happen again. But I’m lucky, I’m 21 years old and it’s only my ankle."
Logan added: "If a little kid falls in there, gets it on their face or something, that’s going to cause them life-changing injuries so I’m lucky but someone else may not be. If I had seen some signs I wouldn’t have gone down into the bush. I’ve only gone in to get the ball for my brother but if I was made aware of what it was and what it could do to you, I definitely wouldn’t have gone in there."
Giant hogweed, also known as Heracleum mantegazzianum, can grow up to 10ft tall. According to the Royal Horticultural Society the plant is generally biennial.
Dr Mark Spencer, botanist and invasive species expert, told the BBC: "It’s the only plant I would actually say to beware of in our country. We have many, many poisonous plants and fungi, most of which are totally safe to be around - apart from giant hogweed. Do not touch it."
Spencer later added that if you come into contact with the weed it’s imperative that you cover your skin, even if it’s warm and sunny, he said: “Get yourself home and have a light shower or bath, wash your skin off to get the chemicals off your skin and just keep a very careful eye. If you start to feel that your skin’s tingling or hint of burning, contact a medical person immediately, probably go to A&E or speak to your GP.”