Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a dangerous plant for humans. It contains toxic sap that can cause severe burns. It can grow as tall as 20 feet with huge leaves. It can be confused with native hogweed when not fully grown or when growth is stunted (e.g. regrowth after cutting). The shape of the leaves is different and they are bristly. The stem has red blotches on it (like many toxic plants. Giant hogweed is not native to the UK. It was first introduced as an ornamental plant and has spread thorough the UK. Giant hogweed should be destroyed as soon as it is identified. It is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to England, Wales and Scotland. As such it is an offence to plant or otherwise cause this species to grow in the wild. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, giant hogweed is also classified as controlled waste. The photo shows a plant growing on an allotment. Bags have been put over the seedheads to prevent the seeds spreading while the plant is dying from the effects of the herbicide it has been sprayed with.