PEOPLE going for walks in the woods should watch out this summer, as many have pointed out that there’s a dangerous plant that we all need to keep an eye out for.
While many are aware of fast-growing Japanese Knotweed and how it wreaks havoc, the Giant Hogweed is the one we should really be wary of.
The plant, which can grow up to 1.5m wide and 3m long, looks slightly like a rhubarb leaf with irregular edges, while the underside of the leaf is hairy.
And according to many eagle-eyed social media users who are well-versed in the plant world, the plant – also known as Heracleum mantegazzianum – should be talked about much more.
One such TikToker is @sapianism, who uploaded a video speaking about why he deems it to be “one of the UK’s most dangerous plants.”
As he approached the plant in question, the TikToker went on to say that he “won’t even touch this thing” as he knows what it is capable of doing.
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He then zoomed in on the plant in further detail, before continuing to uncover its main threats, including how it can lead to third-degree burns.
@sapianism explained: “This is because the sap contained in this plant removes your skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun – it’s like anti-melanin.
“And this effect can last up to seven years. And even handling this plant can get the sap on your skin.
“That means if you get this sap on your skin and you go out into the sun, you can suffer third degree burns. That’s burns all the way down to the muscle.”
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And if that wasn’t a stark warning enough, the social media user went on to say: “Even after it heals, you go out again and it happens again. You go out again, and it happens again.”
He then told why people needed to be particularly careful – explaining the link to another plant and how the two vary.
He said: “It’s actually the cousin of a decently edible plant – common hogweed.
“But this thing grows absolutely monstrous. This one behind me is an easy nine, or maybe ten feet, but it gets up to ten, twelve, fourteen feet.”
Meanwhile, another social media user @eatthecountry echoed @sapianism’s thoughts, as he questioned whether it was “Britain’s nastiest plant.”
The man continued: “This plant is so nasty that if you’re caught growing this plant, you can get up to two years in prison.
“If you cut this plant down and you want to get rid of it, you have to take it to a special licence facility because it’s so nasty – it’s easier to get rid of nuclear waste!
If you get the sap of this plant on your skin and you put it in sunlight, it’ll basically blister and turn really, really nasty
“Why is it so nasty? Because the sap of this plant contains something called furanocoumarins, which causes photodermatitis.
“Photodermatitis is like what happens to vampires when they walk out in the sunlight – if you get the sap of this plant on your skin and you put it in sunlight, it’ll basically blister and turn really, really nasty.”
He also revealed a clever way of finding out whether it is Giant Hogweed, or regular Hogweed, in addition to the obvious size of the plant.
He said: “The leaves are much more jagged and much more sharp-edged as opposed to regular Hogweed leaves, which are much smoother.
“But the most tell-tale sign is the stem, which has these dirty sprays of purple patches on it.”
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He ended his video by stating: “It’s illegal, it basically should be got rid of, but nobody wants to touch it and it’s all over the place.”
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