Wednesday, 6 June 2012

So far no sign of.... A return of the giant Hogweed.... At ferry Nab!!

In June 2011, several Giant Hogweed plants were found to be growing alongside the National Trust/SLDC footpath at Ferry Nab. A National Trust Ranger wearing full protective clothing and goggles dug out the plants and then burnt them.

The Giant Hogweed plant (HERACLEUM MANTEGAZZIANUM) is a native of the Caucasus region, and Central Asia. Victorians brought it back for use as an ornamental garden plant. It is able to grow taller than 15 feet, and more! 

Giant Hogweed’s flower head in June 2011. Cockshott point/Ferry Nab

The sap contains “furanocoumarins,”a toxin that photosensitises the skin. Exposure to sunlight causes painful blistering. The scars can take years to heal. A small amount in the eyes has been known to cause temporary or even permanent blindness.

This plant often causes river bank erosion...its favourite place to grow. When it dies back in Winter, often only bare ground remains. 

 The Giant Hogweed can easily shade out native plants because it grows so fast and so tall; it becomes dominant very quickly if not controlled.

The Giant Hogweed, classed as a biennial, lives for between two to Seven years. In its final year it produces the flower heads, each containing up to 5,000 seeds, seeding in late August. The seeds remain viable for up to seven years in the ground.

Giant Hogweed at Ferry Nab bordering SLDC and N.T footpaths at Ferry Nab leading to Cockshott Point. Note size of plant compared to large trenching spade. Plant APPROX 15 feet tall! Native plants under threat include Touch Me Not Balsam

A recent survey in this area indicates there is no sign of regeneration of the yet! Further monitoring will take place later this year.

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