The nasty giant hogweed. (Invasive Species Council of BC photo)

Toxic giant hogweed plants show up in Duncan

Invasive plant can cause blisters, burns and even blindness

Duncan’s Dian Tulip was shocked when she realized two plants she was nursing in her garden turned out to be invasive and toxic giant hogweed.

According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, giant hogweed is one of the most dangerous plants in the country.

The exotic plant can grow up to six metres tall and is covered in clusters of white flowers.

Its colourless sap is toxic, and when it contacts human skin and is exposed to sunlight it can cause blisters, burns and even blindness.

Tulip, a former florist, said the plants were growing next to some cacti she had planted this spring.

She said that when the plants started to grow, she was curious as to what they were and allowed them to grow to more than a metre high before she finally identified the species.

“I’ve been a gardener for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one of these plants,” Tulip said.

“It may have come in the soil with cacti, in the bark mulch that I have spread around the garden, or maybe it was something as simple as birds leaving the seeds in their droppings here.”

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN RECEIVES $22,500 TO FIGHT INVASIVE SPECIES

Tulip said she has checked with her neighbours and none that she has talked to have noticed any giant hogweed plants growing on their properties.

She said she and her husband carefully removed the plants using gloves and other clothes to keep the plants from contacting their skin and carefully placed them in garbage bags.

Tulip said she took them to the dump herself because she was concerned that city workers would come into contact with the sap if they were put in the regular roadside recycling.

“Giant hogweed can be very prolific and their seeds can last for 10 years,” she said.

“This is the time of the year when they start to bloom so we wanted to get the word out about these plants.”

Giant hogweed probably came to Canada from Asia in the 1940s as a decorative plant.

Its leaves are deeply incised and the leaves on their underside are stiff, dense and stubby and can exceed 2.5 metres in length.

The stems of the giant hogweed have dark reddish purple blotches on the stalks, and the plants have large white umbrella-like flower clusters.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Andrea Rondeau column: I’ll beg if I have to, to get you to vote

Please, please, please mail in your vote in the proportional representation election.

Sarah Simpson column: Cowichan sure knows when to step up to help

Shortly after my birthday last year I wrote a column about gifts.… Continue reading

Cowichan United seeing positives despite results

U21 team falls to Lakehill, but coaches see improvement

T.W. Paterson column: The story behind the lost certificate, conclusion

In early March 1915 the 5th Bn. was near Estaire, France and several men had already been shot.

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read