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Giant hogweed – Ballymena

Giant hogweed is a plant which can be found in and around Ballymena.Giant hogweed is an invasive plant, this means that it is not native to Northern Ireland and therefore can cause problems if it grows too rapidly. The NIdirect website has inforamtion about a number of invasive species – one of which is Giant Hogweed. Giant Hogweed is often found growing by the roadside and can cause irritation to skin. The photographs below show what Giant Hogwood looks like – The pictures are from and excellent and helpful website called Habitas.org.uk

Giant hogweed - Ballymena

Giant hogweed - Ballymena Giant hogweed - Ballymena
Giant hogweed – Ballymena

Read the information from NIdirect below:

Appearance

Giant hogweed is easily distinguishable from the similar native hogweed and cow parsley due to its sheer height which can reach three to five metres.

Where is it found?

It is most commonly found in areas of damp soils, such as river banks.

How does it spread?

Each flower head can produce up to 50,000 seeds which are easily dispersed by flood water, meaning it can quickly take over an area. Its seeds can live for up to 20 years, so treatment must be continued until the soil seed bank is fully exhausted and no further growth is observed.

Is it harmful?

Giant hogweed contains a sap which irritates skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Symptoms are usually noticeable within 24 hours and include blistering and swelling on the skin, which may be made worse by over-exposure to the sun.

If you come into contact with it, cover the affected area immediately to avoid exposure to the sun. Wash the area with cold water. If blistering occurs or the contact was with the eyes, you should seek medical advice.

Please share this with anyone who may come into contact with giant hogweed in the Ballymena area.