Bolton: Warning after Giant Hogweed at Longsight Park

A school has issued an urgent warning about dangers of Giant Hogweed after a pupil suffered horrific burns after coming into the contact with the toxic plant.

The four-year-old was in Longsight Park, Harwood, when she came into contact with the plant and suffered blisters on her hand.

Bolton Council officers say they will investigate.

And headteacher of Hardy Mill Primary School has issued a warning to parents about the dangers of the plant.

Family’s horror after four Farnworth teenagers suffer horrific hogweed burns while playing in Moses Gate Country Park

She said: “One of our children has sadly been in contact with this plant over the half term break and ended up at the hospital with second degree burns.

“Please look out for this plant in your garden and when out and about with you children.

“We have been informed that this plant is definitely growing in Longsight Park.

“It would be helpful to show your children what this plant looks like so they can avoid coming into contact with it.”

Giant hogweed, often dubbed ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’, usually grows near waterways, such as rivers and canals, although can pop up anywhere.

The youngster visited a number of locations on Lonsight Park so it not clear exactly where the plant is growing.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “We haven’t had any reports of Giant Hogweed in Longsight Park and it isn’t somewhere we’ve had it in the past. However we will send an officer to the area to check.

“Our policy is to immediately treat all instances of accessible Giant Hogweed on our land to remove its presence.

“We are also currently carrying out a treatment on council land where Giant Hogweed was reported in the past, in order to limit its spread this year.

The Bolton News:

“We will continue to remove any accessible Giant Hogweed on council land as soon as it is reported, and would like to encourage the public to report any instances of what they believe to be Giant Hogweed on council land to or by calling 01204 336632.”

Giant Hogweed is an invasive species and grows extremely quickly – and up to 20ft tall.

The sap inside the plant’s leaves and stalks contain toxic chemicals called furanocoumarins. They cause a reaction which triggers a burning sensation on the skin.

The reaction – called Phytophotodermatitis – changes the way skin protects itself from UV. This means that exposure to sunlight after coming into contact with the sap causes severe pain, redness and blisters.

Contact with the plant can cause severe burns and blisters, which are extremely sensitive to the sun for years, and can cause blindness if it comes into contact with eyes.

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