Warning as girl, 4, suffers horrific burns after touching UK’s ‘most dangerous’ plant

She was left with horrific burns after touching a giant weed in Bolton. The child was playing in Longsight Park in Harwood when she touched the hazardous wild flowering plant on Saturday (June 4). The plan is a giant hogweed, and is known to cause serious health problems. The severe blistering which developed on her hands put her in hospital.

Her primary school later issued an urgent warning to deter any other victims.

Hardy Mill Primary School 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 can cause major irritation to skin, as its toxins seep deep into the skin and can cause lasting damage by changing the way skin reacts to sunlight.

The toxic chemicals, called furanocoumarins, cause a reaction which triggers a burning sensation on the skin.

This reaction means that exposure to sunlight after coming into contact with the sap causes severe pain, redness and blisters.

Contact with the plant can even cause blindness if it comes into contact with eyes.

In the long term, people can face potential disfiguration or long-lasting purple blotches on their skin.

The worst affected could even suffer skin irritation for months or years after contact.

The weed can grow up to 20ft tall and its leaves to five feet in width, while each giant hogweed plant can spread out to cover a range of around two metres.

Ots sap is one of the most notable parts of the plant, with its thick green stem having patches of purple and white hairs on it.

Giant hogweed is part of the Apiaceae family which also includes plants such as parsley, carrot, parsnip, cumin and coriander.

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Bolton Council officers say they will investigate.

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.

“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 [email protected] or by calling 01204 336632.”

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