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Call me paranoid but I believe information is empowering. A little while ago, I had heard about Giant Hogweed, an awful plant that is incredibly dangerous to us humans. I intended to post about it earlier but somehow forgot until a friend reminded me.
Why am I making such a big deal about it?
Well, for starters, it’s incredibly toxic. From what I’ve learned so far, if your skin comes into contact with Giant Hogweed, you are in for a huge shock. Within 24 – 48 hours, we’re talking burns, blisters, and possible permanent scarring. The sap is photoreactive, which means it reacts with sunlight. Of the different videos and articles that I’ve read so far, your skin continues to be in danger when exposed to sunlight for up to 10 years.
Translation: every time that part of your skin gets exposed to sunlight, the blisters, burns come back.
Get the toxic sap in your eyes and we’re talking the possibility of permanent blindness.
Apparently, the Giant Hogweed loves river banks and can be found on road sides. Now, when it’s fully grown, the Giant Hogweed can be up to 15 feet high and at that size, you can’t miss it. That’s not what I’m worried about. For me, the idea that shorter younger Giant Hogweed plants might be harder to see. Worst part is, the Giant Hogweed seems to be quite enticing to young children who may see its giant hollow stalk and want to use it as a telescope or pea shooter. Imagine: your pet runs through an area and may/not have come into contact with Giant Hogweed. Based on what I’ve read so far, your pet will be fine but you won’t be if you now touch it with your bare hands.
Gosh, that imagery just gives me the creeps.
Different countries are trying to eradicate the Giant Hogweed but it isn’t easy. Turns out, each plant gives off thousands of seeds and based on what I’ve read so far, the seeds can stay active for up to 15 years. Man, that’s nuts!!!
Your homework and mine: to learn all we can about Giant Hogweed and avoid it at all costs.
I personally don’t have any images of Giant Hogweed that I can post on our site, ThingsThatWeDo.com but if you do a quick online search, you’ll find tons of videos and images. I’ve also included a few choice videos and articles for you to get you started.
Call me paranoid if you want but I think it’s better to know more than less because knowledge = safety especially when it comes to this Giant Hogweed plant and the safety of our children. In case you’re wondering, the hubby and I have talked to our big kid about the Giant Hogweed plant. She’s watched some videos and we’ve talked about some safety protocols (i.e. we can go on hikes but we’ll avoid touching the plants and will likely stay on cleared paths), and she’s already planning to tell her teacher when she gets to school tomorrow. We also learned more about the shape of its leaves and what to look out for.
Now, if one kid can do all that, imagine what we could all do collectively?
Here are a few links you can click to learn more about the Giant Hogweed:
National Post: Giant weed that burns and blinds spreads across Canada
Giant Hogweed – Ministry of Natural Resources
Weedinfo.ca – a great website to help figure out what weed is what
United States Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Library: National Invasive Species Information Center – Giant Hogweed
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