Giant Wild Plant Is Hospitalising Children At Play

Watching children playing and running freely in a park is a wonderful sight. With only beautiful flowers, plants and trees all around, you would think that any child would be safe from harm, but it seems there are wild plants so toxic that touching them could result in a youngster needing hospital treatment. Simply coming into contact with sap from the leaves, flowers or stem of the giant hogweed plant can cause rashes, blisters and burns to skin. In some cases the burns are so bad that the young person is scarred for life.

What is giant hogweed?

This plant was introduced to Europe from Asia and taken to Britain by the Victorians. They considered the giant hogweed an ornamental plant which added height and structure to a garden. It is a tall plant which usually grows between two and five metres high. It has broad, light green leaves and a cream umbrella-like flower. The stem is thick and strong and sometimes has some red staining on it. The latin name is Heracleum mantegazzianum and it is also known in the UK as giant cow parsnip and the cartwheel flower.

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