Invasive giant hogweed removed from St Annes sand dunes

A clump of invasive giant hogweed found on St Annes sand dunes has been removed by Fylde Council.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:34 pm
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:36 pm
Picture by the Fylde Rangers
Picture by the Fylde Rangers

The plant, which can reach over 3m in height, was found on the dunes opposite Bentinck Road on Friday.

Alan Wright, campaigns manager at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: "Giant hogweed is a bit of a nasty thing. We have got quite a few plants like this, but giant hogweed can be particularly dangerous because people can react to it.

"It's not a species native to the UK. It actually originates from the Caucasus Mountains in Asia. Like all of these plants, people grew them in their gardens in the early part of the last century, and they do tend to spread very quickly. It's similar to Japanese knotweed an Himalayan balsam.

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"It's just a matter of trying to deal with it. It's not just a case of cutting it down, you actually have to treat the area to stop it growing.

"They're quite spectacular and can grow up to 3m high, so it does look quite attractive in a garden setting. It's quite an attractive plant, which is why it was brought here, but people didn't realise the damage it could do. Generally these things spread really quickly and it's an ongoing battle for us.

"You will probably notice this year giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam will be more prevalant, because we haven't had the volunteers on the ground due to lockdown, and so things have been allowed to get out of control. At the moment we think it will be prevalent in the region because we simply haven't had the numbers, we've had to be really careful due to social distancing."

He added: "The sap of giant hogweed is horrible stuff. If exposed to sunlight, it can cause blistering on the skin. It doesn't affect everyone, but if it does affect you it's quite nasty, so if you do see if, don't try to deal with it yourself. It's always better to report it to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust or the Council."

A spokesman for the Fylde Rangers said: "Please be aware that the Giant Hogweed has been removed by qualified staff and the area made safe. We will continue to monitor this area."