Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

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Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Uriah Heap » Mon May 06, 2013 11:00 pm

I have just noticed this years crop of Giant hogweed begining to grow in my garden so i thought i should warn anyone who doesnt already know how dangerous these things are.

Year before last in late June, i got the sap of one of these plants on my skin - arm, leg and chest. As soon as i noticed i went in the hpuse to wash it off, but it was too late - the sunlight must have got to it and photo activated the sap. Two days later, i came up in enourmous blisters. Very very sore as well!

At hospital, they had never even heard of Giant Hogweed and the casualty doctors had to look it up on Google. The gave me some hydrocortisone cream, which helped a bit, but two years later I still have large purplish scars just as if i had been burned with a red hot poker.

One yearIn the 1970s must have been a particularly good year for giant hogweed because there there were many cases of children picking these plants and using their hollow stems as pea shooters. The resulting burns were horrific. Some transferred the sap from their hands to their eyes - presumably by just casually rubbing their eyes - and they lost their sight as a result.

It was in the news so much that year that the rock group Genesis wrote a song about it.

Its related to cow parsley. It doesnt grow in all parts of the country, but if your unlucky enough to encounter it please be very careful not to get the sap on your skin. It is sensitised by sunlight, and the results of skin contact are truly horrible - even if you wash it off straight away.
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Fairclough » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:45 pm

Yes, it can be nasty stuff. And now is the time of year when it is at its most potent. It occurs in pockets all over the country. Watch out for it.
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby sanctury » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:06 pm

Ive seen various things on facebook about this plant but only one small report in the paper.

I grew up in the woods and fields in Kent and to my knowledge never saw one nor heard of anyone burnt by this plant. Was I just lucky?

Quite a chemical really, this sap
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby sanctury » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:08 pm

Ive seen various things on facebook about this plant but only one small report in the paper.

I grew up in the woods and fields in Kent and to my knowledge never saw one nor heard of anyone burnt by this plant. Was I just lucky?

Quite a chemical really, this sap
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Eliza » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:53 am

Just come across this thread.

Out of interest Uriah - how did you get rid of it from your garden?
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Uriah Heap » Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:44 pm

Eliza wrote:Just come across this thread.

Out of interest Uriah - how did you get rid of it from your garden?

Just kept weedkillering it with glyposate waiting a coup,e of weeks then and pulling it up (with gloves and long sleves) Had to burn it on site because I heard it was illegal to transport it anywhere offsite even to council tip. Alternative is to bring in specialists for 500 quid.
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Uriah Heap » Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:50 pm

sanctury wrote:Ive seen various things on facebook about this plant but only one small report in the paper.

I grew up in the woods and fields in Kent and to my knowledge never saw one nor heard of anyone burnt by this plant. Was I just lucky?

Quite a chemical really, this sap

Yes it grows in patches. Some places dont have it. Even the hospital AE hadnt heard of it so had to google it!!!

There are several related species in UK. Some burn more than othrs. It is nasty stuff so be carefull. You dont always have to touch the sap just brushing against the hairy leaves can give ypu bad burns and blisters. It is activated by light and you dont generally know about it until 2 days later until the bliaters apear. Very very sore I can tell you. I have still got the scars.
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby TheWhippet » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:50 am

There was a story last year I think about a child who was playing near his home and ended up in hospital for a week with severe burns. It's a terrible plant but is very difficult to eradicate completely.
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Morgan Sweet » Fri May 19, 2017 8:47 pm

You get the same burning from the sap of parsnips if sunlight shines on your skin where the sap is. Not usually a problem since parsnips are harvested in winter months but can sometimes catch you out.
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Re: Severe burns from Giant Hogweed Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Postby Uriah Heap » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:05 am

I think it is a bit more toxic than parsnips. This year is sopposed to be a bad year for it apparently:
http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/britains-most-toxic-plant-reportedly-spreading-across-uk-after-heatwave/ar-BBDU0EE?li=AAnZ9Ug&ocid=mailsignout

When I was burnt by it the doctors did not know what it was. Burnt my arm, chest and top of leg. It was very very painful. Lucky I am not into naturism!!!
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