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UPDATE April 14th 2016 - We have a new website promoting Liverpool!
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Friday, 18 May 2012

Hogweed in Nova Scotia

 The Nova Scotia government is tracking the giant hogweed on its website. The huge plant's sap can produce painful blisters and even blindness.

Hogweed,  Heracleum mantegazzianum, was first introduced into North America by early colonists. It is a fast growing plant that creates a beautiful hedge for instant privacy

"It's large, it's grand, it's very tropical looking."

Giant hogweed is a perennial member of the carrot family originally from Asia. It was introduced in Nova Scotia as an ornamental garden plant. This plant has the potential to readily spread from gardens along roadsides, ditches and streams invading native habitats. Giant hogweed closely resembles our native cow parsnip which is also a member of the carrot family. Its size makes it a distinctive plant, growing up to over 5 meters tall at maturity under ideal conditions. The white flowers, resembling those of Queen Anne’s Lace, form a largeumbrella shaped head, that can be 1 meter or more wide.

Health Concerns:

The clear watery sap of giant hogweed contains irritating sap that can cause severe dermatitis. Ultraviolet radiation activates compounds in the sap resulting in severe burns when exposed to the sun. Symptoms occur within 48 hours of contact and consist of painful blisters. Purplish scars may form, and can last for many years. Eye contact with the sap may cause temporary or permanent blindness.

First Aid Instructions:
* Wash the affected skin IMMEDIATELY and thoroughly with soap and water.
* Affected skin should be covered to avoid exposure to any sunlight for a MINIMUM of 48 hours, avoidance of any sun exposure within 48 hours of exposure lessens the severity.
* Ocular exposure: requires immediate and thorough (20 to 30 minutes) eye flushing with lukewarm water. A UV-absorbing wrap should be used around sunglasses for 24 hours after exposure to decrease the potential of ultra violet sunlight contacting the eye.
* Continued use of sunscreen is recommended for up to 6 months after exposure as a MINIMUM.
* Clothes, tools, and anything that contacted the plant sap should be washed, ensuring that they cannot spread further contamination

Giant hogweed can grow up to six metres high.

Escape from the usual........