Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Giant hogweed can both scar and blind

The dangers of Giant Hogweed have been mentioned before, and we’ve taken a few pics that show what this particularly nasty member of the plant kingdom looks like:

Giant hogweed example

But we’ve not come across any pics (other than in the tabloids, and they’d moan about copyright if we used any of their precious ‘work’) that really show the effects when giant hogweed sap contacts human skin and is exposed to sunlight.

The danger is the two steps needed to activate it, as someone who has come into contact with the toxic sap may not realise it at first, rub the area affected and transfer it to their hands, then to their face, and in the worst cases, to their eyes, where it can cause blindness as exposure to sunlight activates it.

Once activated, it can cause serious blistering and inflammation.

Pics from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation show that the effect of brushing up against the plant, the time taken for the effects to appear, and the resultant effect even after the initial reaction has passed.


Effect of Giant Hogweed Sap

Effect of Giant Hogweed Sap

Areas near places such as the River Clyde can be covered with these things, and when I was there few days ago the were leaning over the path from the verge.

I’m not willing to ‘Take one for the team’, so gave them a wide berth and avoid any reaction just to push them out of the way with my bare hand.

While that’s probably not to hazardous, the problem could come after pushing hard enough to break a stem and let the sap out, and then it could end up on bare skin. Even in Scotland, the chances of it getting a dash of sunlight are pretty high at this time of year.


July 24, 2017 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , ,

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