Giant Hogweed in Somerset

rjb
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Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby rjb » 24 Jun 2015, 10:13pm

Anyone riding along the Taunton to Bridgwater canal needs to be aware of this plant which is blooming along the canal banks. There is a video link here from the BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-33249604
and from the daily snail - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... YEARS.html
At the last count:- Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Psamathe
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Psamathe » 24 Jun 2015, 10:25pm

I reported some (fairly significant) Giant Hogweed to Highways over two weeks ago and they've done nothing about it. It's growing on highways verge and was over 6ft high when reported. Now taller, leaves are overhanging road (and being damaged/broken by vehicles). Also now we have flowers so will soon have seeds to keep the area Giant Hogweed infected for years to come.

I worry about the pedestrians (dog walkers, people out with their babies in buggies, etc.) as there are a fair number and they might not all be aware of what it is growing !!

But what more can you do ?

I have a suspicion Giant Hogweed is getting more common - or at least I'm seeing more. Fortunately all the other clusters I've seen have been a decent distance back from the road on farmers fields (so no risk to public and farmers should recognise what it is and be aware of the dangers).

Ian

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661-Pete
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby 661-Pete » 24 Jun 2015, 11:54pm

I suppose it's a plant we can live without in the UK, but I think that would be rather a pity - it's really eyecatching and only dangerous if you actually touch it (and even then, only if sunlight falls on the skin which has been in contact). For most people it will merely result in an unpleasant rash which will go in a few days. Of course, some people have more severe symptoms, as with all allergens.

Many years ago, I remember we used to come across a large stand of the plant growing along the Medway. It certainly was an eye-opener - like something from another planet. I believe it is Britain's largest herbaceous plant. I also recall a few plants that used to grow near Lindfield in Sussex, but I believe the site has since been cleared of them.

In other parts of the world, there are some really nasty plants that you ought to steer clear of. We all know about the (relatively!) harmless stinging nettle, but in mainland Europe you may come across the Roman Nettle (Urtica pilulifera) which I believe packs a really vicious punch. I haven't put it to the test! Probably one of the world's nastiest plants is the Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella), common in the Caribbean. Its fruit look like small green apples but are absolutely deadly, as is every part of the plant. It's even said to be dangerous to shelter under a tree in the rain. But the authorities there aren't about to exterminate every tree in the area.
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Psamathe
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Psamathe » 25 Jun 2015, 9:10am

661-Pete wrote:I suppose it's a plant we can live without in the UK, but I think that would be rather a pity - it's really eyecatching ...

I would disagree as it is a non-native (i.e. introduced) species that has "escaped". I appreciate that out climate is changing as thus our flora and fauna will change as well, but I think that is a process that should occur naturally rather than allow introduced species to spread (I was going to say 'uncontrolled - but I guess that Giant Hogweed is (in theory) controlled).

Ian

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honesty
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby honesty » 25 Jun 2015, 9:59am

Cycled a bit of the canal on Monday actually so this is very timely information! I didn't see any on the section I cycled and this seems to have been further up in Bridgwater but always good to know. Thanks.

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Mick F
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Mick F » 25 Jun 2015, 10:18am

I Google Imaged the stuff, and TBH I don't think I've ever seen it.
Maybe I've not looked.
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=giant ... 20&bih=697
Mick F. Cornwall

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simonineaston
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby simonineaston » 25 Jun 2015, 10:37am

Bring back Prog Rock, I say!!
byyeee,
SiE

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Cunobelin
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Cunobelin » 25 Jun 2015, 8:05pm

simonineaston wrote:Bring back Prog Rock, I say!!



Absolutely

Psamathe
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Psamathe » 25 Jun 2015, 8:17pm

Cunobelin wrote:
simonineaston wrote:Bring back Prog Rock, I say!!



Absolutely

I think their best stuff was when Peter Gabriel was with them. And after they parted company the better material was coming from Peter Gabriel. But maybe that's going a bit off-topic ?

Ian

ferdinand
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby ferdinand » 25 Jun 2015, 8:28pm

Giant hogweed burns:
http://bit.ly/1Kff5qj

(nasty)

Caused by contact with the sap plus sunlight.
http://www.nonnativespecies.org/?pageid=152

Ferdinand

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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Elizabeth_S » 28 Jun 2015, 5:15pm

661-Pete wrote:I suppose it's a plant we can live without in the UK, but I think that would be rather a pity - it's really eyecatching and only dangerous if you actually touch it (and even then, only if sunlight falls on the skin which has been in contact). For most people it will merely result in an unpleasant rash which will go in a few days. Of course, some people have more severe symptoms, as with all allergens.


Nothing to do with allergens, all animals and people can be burned by it, the sap contains furocoumarins and these can react with sunlight to give you phytophotodermatitis and this doesn't go away. We've had to live with Giant Hogweed for years in the Stirling area because some bright spark planted one in Bridge of Allan years ago and it is such a pest and kills all the plants underneath it. It spreads along rivers and roads and railway lines, each seed head produces so many seeds and they can remain viable for a long time. So right now volunteers have a program of spraying my local town, but unless every local landowner sprays then it will keep coming back.

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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby nosmarbaj » 1 Jul 2015, 12:33pm

Psamathe wrote:I reported some (fairly significant) Giant Hogweed to Highways over two weeks ago and they've done nothing about it. It's growing on highways verge and was over 6ft high when reported. Now taller, leaves are overhanging road (and being damaged/broken by vehicles).


I believe standard practice to get rid of it is spraying with systemic herbicide. The plants must then be left standing to give the poison time to reach the roots. So the fact plants are still standing does not necessarily mean nothing has been done, though admittedly they should probably be looking a bit sick after 2 weeks.

Just cutting it down would leave roots in place to sprout again. As it's a perennial member of the carrot/parsnip family roots are likely to be substantial and deep (I don't know for certain) and digging it up might not be easy.

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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby MikeF » 11 Jul 2015, 4:23pm

Psamathe wrote:I reported some (fairly significant) Giant Hogweed to Highways over two weeks ago and they've done nothing about it. It's growing on highways verge and was over 6ft high when reported. Now taller, leaves are overhanging road (and being damaged/broken by vehicles). Also now we have flowers so will soon have seeds to keep the area Giant Hogweed infected for years to come.

Well done for reporting it. Which Highways Dept though? It needs more people to do so then Highways etc can be made more away. Both East and West Sussex County Councils have an ongoing programme for treating Japanese Knotweed, and West will treat Giant Hogweed as well - maybe East does as well. I don't know what Surrey or Kent do, but I haven't seen much around their roadsides - at least not in the parts I cycle in.

661-Pete wrote:Many years ago, I remember we used to come across a large stand of the plant growing along the Medway. It certainly was an eye-opener - like something from another planet. I believe it is Britain's largest herbaceous plant. I also recall a few plants that used to grow near Lindfield in Sussex, but I believe the site has since been cleared of them.

If you mean in the Walstead are then I probably was the person who arranged for that to be removed. :wink:

Giant Hogweed is a perennial, but it seems to be one of those plants that dies once it's flowered (it takes several years to flower). It seems if the flower head is cut before viable seeds are set then the plant dies. That's OK for an isolated plant but you still need to avoid coming into contact with sap. Roundup will kill it, but the problem is reaching the plants to spray. A very long lance helps, but it's not easy.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

Psamathe
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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby Psamathe » 11 Jul 2015, 4:38pm

MikeF wrote:
Psamathe wrote:I reported some (fairly significant) Giant Hogweed to Highways over two weeks ago and they've done nothing about it. It's growing on highways verge and was over 6ft high when reported. Now taller, leaves are overhanging road (and being damaged/broken by vehicles). Also now we have flowers so will soon have seeds to keep the area Giant Hogweed infected for years to come.

Well done for reporting it. Which Highways Dept though? It needs more people to do so then Highways etc can be made more away. Both East and West Sussex County Councils have an ongoing programme for treating Japanese Knotweed, and West will treat Giant Hogweed as well - maybe East does as well. I don't know what Surrey or Kent do, but I haven't seen much around their roadsides - at least not in the parts I cycle in....

Norfolk.

I think eventually they did spray it; but they took so long about it it has flowered and flowers seem to have finished before the leaves started dying. So I guess I'll be able to report it next year when the seeds all germinate ...

Article in the papers a couple of days ago http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/toxic-giant-hogweed-plants-leave-children-hospitalised-with-one-girl-left-scarred-for-life-10380754.html Saying about "severe burns" and one child scarred for life - and who am I to doubt the reports from the Daily Mail (I don't read the Daily Mail and my impression is the Independent source for the story is the Daily Mail).

Ian

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Re: Giant Hogweed in Somerset

Postby rualexander » 11 Jul 2015, 4:49pm

Used to be loads of it along the bank of the river Tay in Perth back in the seventies when we used to go fishing there, we called them Triffids, knew they were capable of causing burns and never had any problems with them.